Tag Archives: hubby

Family Day Out in Breckenridge

On Fridays I try to get my home-loving husband, and grumpy children out of the house for a family day.  It doesn’t have to be the whole day, but something special.  Two Fridays ago we went swimming at a new pool.  That was great fun, but I forgot my camera! Last Friday we drove into the mountains to Breckenridge for the day. Breckenridge is a ski resort town. We had a blast! The highlight of the day was riding on the gondola. As we were walking to it I was trying to calculate how much we were willing to spend it ride it.  We were absolutely shocked when the lady told us it was free!


James could hardly contain himself, he was so excited! When it was over I had to physically carry him off (kicking and everything). The next few days afterward he has been asking to “go on a ride” every morning. And if you haven’t heard a 3 year old try to say gondola than you are missing out!


It was the perfect place to nurse Faith too! It was just us and is a 10 minute ride up and 10 minute ride down. We rode it twice a few hours apart, so I nursed Faith both times we took a ride.  It was perfect! (She’s not actually nursing in the picture. Just waking up and thinking about it)


Daddy and Gideon


Even Faith liked looking out the window.


We also went to a toy store. They had a nice place to play with a train table:


A little trampoline:


And a kitchen with a little shopping cart. We thought it was pretty cute that Faith could fit in the cart. Too bad she can’t sit up yet.


There is tons of shopping to do but we didn’t feel like dragging the kids around town. There is also a children’s museum and grandparents are free. 😀 So we think some grandparents should come and play with the kids at the children’s museum while Titus and I shop. 😀 😀 Otherwise the museum does something called “Parents night out”. For a fee they watch your kids for about four hours. The only problem is that I have a really hard time leaving my kids with a bunch of people I don’t know. I don’t care how much screening they do.

Oh, and the buses are free around town. We didn’t have time to do that, but James and Gideon would love it! Maybe next time. This Friday if the weather is warm enough I really want to go to the Zoo.

On a sad and different note, my computer is un-usable at the moment, perhaps forever. I am trying to not complain too much about it, but it’s really hard. Since moving the internet has become even more personable to me because all my family and friends are far away. It’s the biggest way I get to interact with other people. But it is just a computer. I found out last Sunday that a lady I had taken a few meals to died on Friday from her brain tumor. I used to go witnessing in downtown Minneapolis when I lived up there, and I have been getting e-mails for the last few months from the leader about his wife who is dying. At the moment I am reading the Dugger’s new book, A Love That Multiplies, which starts off about their preemie baby and how hard that was. In light of all these circumstances my computer not working is a very very little thing. 

I can use Titus’ computer in the mornings and when he is at class. I just won’t be on facebook as much or write as many blogs. Donations are now being accepted! Just kidding……

Looking back 4 years

Last week marked four years ago I married the love of my life.  As I look back on our four years together I can see how much we have been blessed together, and how God has taken such good care of us.  Our first year was in Hawaii, which was amazing.  We lived in this beautiful little one bedroom apartment on the second floor. I loved it!


July 4th 2010


God knew we really needed time together as newly weds without any friends or family around.  We had plenty of money, and Titus didn’t work much.  We just went on lots of dates the first half of living there.  God blessed us with a son in September that first year.


Since James cried all the time it slightly changed our newly wed date life we had going on. 😉  But you can’t stay newly weds forever!

We went to Maui as the first family vacation ever!


Titus and I went to the Marine Corp ball.  I think it was our first date after having James. (Which I think got cut short because he started crying at the baby-sitter’s house ha ha!)


Our first year anniversary.  We didn’t do much (it was just too hard to leave James), but we did borrow a friend’s motorcycle and took a ride up through the island.  I don’t ride motorcycles when I’m pregnant and it was something Titus wanted to do.  I don’t think we even went out to eat or anything.  It was just a quick ride.


Our second year we moved back to Minnesota into this little house:


Titus’ grandma had moved to Kansas and she let us live here rent free for our second year of marriage.  It was a huge blessing since it helped us make ends meet that first year out of the military.  Our second year we didn’t do much, but reconnected with family and friends.

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We went to Texas and Kansas that year for vacations.  For our second anniversary we went out to eat at Bergen Bar.  I think we might have gone back home and watched a movie together too, before getting James. I can’t remember.


Our third year involved another baby and yet another move.

God blessed us with a second son, Gideon.


A month later we moved to this beautiful house:


We had a happy third year with our two little boys.

The 4th of July


For vacation we went up to northern Minnesota.  It turned out to be a horrible trip with the two little boys, but at least we spent some time with family. This picture sums it up nicely:


On our 3rd anniversary I forgot. Completely forgot! In my defense, I was under large amounts of stress, and incredibly sleep deprived!  Titus how ever went all out, dozens of flowers all over the house, chocolate every where, and a beautiful pink set of jewelry.  He is truly a wonderful man. Maybe he knew I needed some extra love that year!

That brings us to this last year.  Last summer I think was one of our best ones.  The boys were a bit older and loved going to the barn.  We spent lots of time there since we decided to move yet again!

Half way through our 4th year we moved to Denver, CO.


And God blessed us with a little girl two days before our 4th year ended:

Faith Natalie


In our four years of marriage:

we have lived in four different houses,

in three different states,

been blessed with three healthy and beautiful children,

Titus has had three different jobs plus going to school,

and I can truly see God’s hand in all of it.  From providing the money for our home births, to all our moves, and Titus’ different jobs.

And one of the biggest and best blessings of our four years together is the fact that other than when he worked at Mountain Power (for about two months) Titus has not worked a normal 8-5 job.  He has been home during the day a ton and we get to see him a lot.  There have been times that he has been busy (like when they bale hay or during harvest time), but for the majority of the time he spends a lot of it at home.  This has been an amazing blessing, one that I am very very thankful for!

I love you honey, here’s to another wonderful 4 years together, with hopefully more babies, and hopefully not as many moves. 😉


Faith Natalie’s Birth Story

Pretty sure I have to write this post in pink, in honor of my beautiful daughter. 🙂  We have finally decided on a name.  I know it has taken us a really long time.  I have found out that Titus and I have very different tastes in girl names.  It might be a good idea to know a head of time if we are having a girl next time around.  With that said, we have gone through lists of names, books of names, and websites of names.  I had several names written out, most of them complete with a middle name as well. Titus didn’t like any of them.  Titus’ two favorite names I wasn’t crazy about, so we had to keep looking.  One name that was thought of but turned down was Cutie Patootie Penner.  We decided she would out grow this name pretty fast and then hate us for the rest of her life. 🙂  So we have come to Faith Natalie Penner.  And it’s just perfect for her! I’m so glad we took our time and waited until we found a name that we both like.


So I started having contractions around 8 in the evening on the 9th. I did notice them because I was really uncomfortable on the floor playing with Gideon. But I didn’t think much of them because I’d had similar contractions for weeks and had gotten kinda used to them.  I went to bed around 10 or 11 and slept until maybe 3:00 a.m.  I’m surprised I was able to sleep since I’ve never slept through pre-labor before.  I got up because I was hungry, and decided to time them and see what’s up.  I called Maren around 4 or 4:30 and told her I was pretty sure I was in labor.  My sisters were getting up by then to leave for MN.  I cuddled with Gideon for a bit and then they left.  I did some cleaning, and watched some netflix, and I think I read a book or something. By 6:30 I was feeling tired and the contractions had  slowed down a bit so I decided to try to sleep.  I have never been able to take naps in pre-labor before, but I did this time.  At 7:30 I talked to Maren again and she decided to come and set everything up.  So I woke up Titus and the two of them moved some stuff around in the livingroom to make room for the birth tub.  Maren hung around for a while, but things were pretty slow and I was thinking about another nap so she said she’d stay close by and do some Christmas shopping.  Titus was already back in bed (he had stayed up late working on home work).  At noon I woke Titus up and had him call Maren.  The contractions were still far apart, but when I had them they were really really strong.  So she came back and they started filling the tub.  I was sitting on the ball, which I’ve done for all my other labors, but it seemed the contractions would slow when I sat on it.  If I was up walking around then they got stronger.  My back was really starting to hurt at this point, really all my muscles, so I decided to sit in the tub. Oh. my. goodness!!  If you have not labored in a tub do it next time! If your doctor won’t let you then find another doctor!!  I literally sat in the tub and all the pain went away. I still had pain with each contraction, but in between I was completely pain-free.  So I sat there for about 3 hours, and Titus sat on the ball next to me.  I’d squeeze his hand through each contraction, but other wise he just sat next to me.  Normally he’s rubbing my back, or squeezing my hips or helping me stand or sit or what ever.  I think he liked the tub as much as I did. 😉  (And as a side note, after my other births my muscles hurt so much. All of them, my back, legs, neck, shoulders.  But this time I have had no sore muscles at all! none! I think it was sitting in the hot water for all of my active labor) Around 3 I kinda got tired of the tub.  It’s a big tub and I had to prop myself up with my feet and my legs were getting tired.  I tried different ways to sit but it wasn’t feeling very good anymore.  The only negative about the tub is if you want to get suddenly you weigh a whole lot more than you do floating in the water.  I kept saying I didn’t think I could get out because my body felt sooooo heavy!  I did not, however, die in the tub, and I did some how get out.  I sat on the toilet and felt a small urge to push.  So everyone was asking me if I wanted to get back in the tub or if I wanted to lie on the bed.  All I said was I wanted to lie down some where soft….so it was to the bed I went.  It felt so good to lie down.  But goodness those contractions are mean!!  No rest!  And if my blasted water would just break earlier then I think I would have an easier time pushing.  I did push for a few pushes with the water intact and there was so.much.pressure!!  The same thing happened with Gideon and I remember the same problem.  When my water broke I felt so much release and so much of the pain went away!  But not for long, one more huge, long push and my baby was next to me!  I don’t remember feeling so emotional or so much relief after my other births.  I didn’t care if it was a girl or a boy, I was so happy to just hold the baby.  I kept telling Titus, it’s all over, it’s all over! 

Right after the birth. We don’t know if it’s a girl or boy yet I don’t think.


The midwife really encouraged me to see if it was a girl or boy though, and low and be hold it was a girl.  I really think I was expecting another boy!  The midwives were in no hurry, they even left the bedroom for a while and it was just Titus me and the baby.  After awhile (maybe an hour??) Maren came in and had Titus cut the cord, then both baby and I took a herb bath in the birth tub.


I have never seen a baby relax so fast in a tub before.  It was really really neat to see her totally calm in the warm water.  She cried when we took her out. 🙂

First bath:


Time has kind of just stopped for us.  We have had no one come see us, and because James and Gideon are still in MN we don’t have anything to do but tell each other how cute Faith is, and how small she is!  I try my best to stay in bed for the first three days after having a baby.  So we’ve just been camping out in my bedroom:



The midwives said they do not think Faith is late.  She doesn’t look late at all (late babies have very dry skin and a lack of vernex.  She doesn’t have either), and when they examined the placenta they said it looks like a 40 week placenta, not a 42 week.  So I guess Faith knew exactly when she should be born!  I was expecting a huge baby because of going so late.  She is a small 7 pounds 5 ounces, the smallest baby I’ve had!  She is just beautiful!

Faith Natalie Penner

Born December 10th, 2013 at 3:40 p.m.


We give thanks to God for another beautiful healthy baby.  We are so blessed, and so thankful!

Bbq Chicken and rice

Want to know something really really yummy??  I made bbq chicken the other night to eat on buns.  But instead of eating them on buns I cooked up some zucchini and squash and layered that with rice and topped it off with the chicken. Wow was that good.  I’m a sucker for good food, even more so when I’m pregnant (because goodness the calories I consume when I’m pregnant, which my midwife is all for.  She tells me to eat all the time! I knew we picked her for a reason. 😉 )

Ever since living in Ecuador I put weird things on rice.  The hubbs thinks it’s weird at least.  But I’ve made some yummy suppers and breakfasts using rice.  And this one is super good!

First you need a bowl of rice. I normally eat brown but I didn’t have that on hand so I made white rice this time.  Then you either saute your squashes, or cook them in a tiny bit of water.  I tried both and both are good.  I didn’t season them at all but you could if you really wanted too.


I like to layer my rice bowls unless it’s a breakfast rice bowl, then I mix it up. After your veggies, top with your shredded bbq chicken.


And that’s it! A very yummy, healthy supper that will keep you full for a nice long time.  Unless you are 32 weeks pregnant then you might be eating again in a few hours. 😉

Husbands and football :)

Apparently my husband likes football.  I mean, hours in front of the TV, the shouting at the TV, the standing up waving arms kind of likes football.  We’ve been married just short of 4 years and I had no idea. I remember a friend of my mom’s talking about football once years and years ago. I was a little girl and the conversation has stuck with me all these years.  She said that she grew up with her mom steaming in the kitchen every Sunday afternoon while her dad watched football.  This friend then said she purposely learned to like football so her future husband and her could get along about it.  She ended up marrying a man who liked golf instead but that’s another story.  The point was, she did everything she could to be supportive and those wise words from that friend of my mom’s so very very long ago was filed away for some reason to come out and be used now.  So I’ve decided to make Sunday unhealthy eating day, where I make a bunch of snacks for my football loving hubby to eat while watching the games.  Last Sunday I went to the store and planned a nice snack-meal for my hubby.  I didn’t quite make it all  the way unhealthy.  I’m not sure I have it in me to do that! We had:

Veggies and dip.  And no, I didn’t make my own dip. I thought about it, but chances are it wouldn’t go over very well so I bought some.  I have a ton left over too, so that might make it into next Sunday as well. 😉  I think Titus ate more of this than anything else! Yay for being healthy!


I also made my mom’s Velveeta cheese dip.  People, talk about unhealthy!! But it is sooooooo good!  And would be good on just about anything, chips, veggies, baked potato, noodles, you could probably dip chicken in it and bake!  I’ve only made this once before, because, let’s face it, I feel my arteries closing on me every time I eat it. Sadly the picture doesn’t do it justice.  I’ll admit it resembles dog food, so you’ll just have to trust me on the yumminess of it. 🙂

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You have to have a little bit of sweet something on a snack day.  Titus went to the store with me and picked these out.  Since I was calling it, ‘his day’ I got the box and made them.  I’ve had better brownies personally.


I didn’t grow up with football on Sundays. Being a pastor’s kid my daddy took a nap every Sunday afternoon. To be honest, I don’t hate it, but I don’t totally get it either. 😉

Titus said he really enjoyed himself.  Which is exactly what I was going for. 🙂  I’d say this first time around was a success.  I’m already thinking about what to make for next Sunday!

I love you honey!!

A walk through of the house.

This blog is mostly for family and Sirena that wanted to see pictures of the house. 🙂  So here is a walk through of our little house.

Here is the front of the house.  There is a rumor going around that they are going to paint the outside. I’m really hoping it won’t be white but considering every room in the house but one was white when we moved in the chances aren’t good. 😉


This is the living room. The red curtain would be the front door, which we never use.  You can see there is kind of two rooms.  The second room holds most of the toys and my desk.


The second part of the living room:


This room was all white.  At first I didn’t like the color we painted it but once it dried it was a much better color.  I love it now!  Anything would be better than that white! The door way by Emma goes to the kitchen.


The door right next to the couch goes into our bedroom (also excuse all the draped furniture.  None of it is ours and it doesn’t match all. Plus the love seat is super uncomfortable without the blanket on it.  What ever it’s made out of does not feel good!) :


Our bedroom.  This is taken from the couch, and you can see the second door off to the right.  That goes into the bathroom.  I’m bummed that the box with all our bedroom pictures didn’t make the move. 😦 Hopefully someone will bring it to me soon!


There is this cute little corner shelf above our bed.  This room also was completely white.  Blue was my very last choice, but the green would have clashed with the curtains, and Titus and Emma didn’t want brown or tan.  It looks better than I thought it would!  And I’m hoping to stencil a verse in brown around the top as a boarder.


This is the light fixture in our room.  It’s kinda neat since I’ve never seen a double one before.  But there isn’t a shade for it which would really add a lot.  I’m thinking about painting it blue to match the walls.


So from the bedroom here is the miserably small bathroom. (Which I am grateful for. It’s better than an outhouse!) The picture with Gideon is taken from the bathtub so the door to the right is our bedroom and the door to the left goes to the kitchen.

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The kitchen.  I wanted it to be cleaner, but really why do I care that much?  I thought it looked pretty good. This first picture would be taken from the living room doorway.  The door to the left is the basement, the one to the right is the laundry room.


Standing from the laundry room doorway:


The hallway that goes to the bathroom (which also has the chalk board wall on it that Emma and I painted):



The basement steps:


From the kitchen the next room is the laundry room.  And may I just say how WONDERFUL it is to have the washer and dryer on the main level???  It is fabulous!


To the left of the laundry room is the boy’s room (you can see James playing on the bunk beds):


I really wanted to wait to take pictures after I get their quilts done, but I’m not sure when that day will be.  I will take more pictures when they are done!




Then out the back door off the laundry room is the back yard.  Some one gave us a swing set for the kids! The big brick building in the back is Titus’ school.


I hope you have noticed all the fresh cut flowers in the house from my very sweet hubby!  Daisies and orange roses make a beautiful combo for fall!


Our last date (for a long long time)

Last night Titus and I went on our last date for who knows how long.  Emma left this morning to go back to Minnesota but she very nicely let us go on a date before she left.  We went to eat at the Olive Garden, one of our very favorite places to eat.  We don’t live very far from one either!  Titus always orders the same thing, Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo with Shrimp.  I get something different every time.  The last time I was there I got a wonderful Garlic Chicken that I really wanted again, but they didn’t have it. So I got the Braised Beef & Tortelloni instead.  I almost never order beef at restaurants, especially with pasta but this was very very good.  They also had wine samples that night, which Titus likes to try, even though we have never found one we like.  So Titus got half a glass of wine to drink with his meal.  I also rarely order desserts because I’m too full, but I went all out last night.  It is, after all our last date for a while.


That my friends would be a pumpkin cheese cake and in the corner is some kind of chocolate mousse.  Both were excellent. Now we aren’t sure what happened next.  Titus was in a military talkative mood last night, and I just kept nodding while he talked on and on about it.  He was also wearing his red Marines t-shirt last night.  Whatever it was, when we ordered our dessert the waiter came back to tell us that the people sitting at the table behind us wanted to buy Titus a beer. A what???  That has never happened to us before, I was terribly confused.  We turned to look at the four people sitting at the table and the guy lifted his glass to Titus and said, “Semper Fi.”. LOL  Once a Marine always a Marine.  So they exchanged rank and such for a bit.  I told Titus to just say thanks but no thanks to the beer since he doesn’t drink beer (he would have been more excited to try a glass of wine. But of course a Marine isn’t going to buy another Marine a glass of wine ;)).  Titus said he’d order the beer but with the tab on and just take it home.  “There are some things you don’t turn down.” he told me.  I obviously don’t totally understand military pleasantries. 😉 


Poor Titus had it all worked out until the waiter told him in the state of Colorado it’s illegal to take the alcohol out of the restaurants, you have to drink it there.  Well that totally turned his very well made plan into mush.  He had already ordered it and had it at the table. He looked at me and said, “Am I really going to drink this?”  And he did, every drop.  When we left and he couldn’t find the truck in the parking lot I told him I was driving home. ha ha ha ha  Who is this man I married???  He said it didn’t sit well with his stomach at all, but he did sleep very well that night. 😉


Thanks Emma for the great last date! You are a gem.  Thanks honey, for taking me on a date.  And thanks random stranger for buying my husband a beer.  Ummm, wait, maybe not. 😀

Homemade Vanilla :)

When we first moved back from Hawaii my MIL gave me some homemade vanilla, which was amazing.  I finally made pancakes with them that my hubby actually liked with it.  When I ran out I tried all sorts of things to get that taste: imitation vanilla, putting in an insane amount of the imitation stuff, and buying store brand real vanilla.  But nothing worked, I couldn’t get that pure vanilla taste that my husband liked so much in his pancakes.  So I decided to make my own.  It’s actually very easy to do, and healthier (the imitation vanilla is full of bad stuff surprise surprise!), and one blog I read even tried to claim it’s cheaper.  I’m not sure I’m believing that last one since imitation vanilla is soooo cheap, but since I didn’t keep track of my expenses this time around I still don’t know for sure.

All you need are vanilla beans, an empty bottle and vodka. I had never been in a  liquor store before and I made sure the guy helping me knew I was making vanilla out of all this vodka I was buying, not drinking it! Not that he cared one bit, it just made me feel better telling him that. 😉


Slice each vanilla bean almost to the top so it is split open:

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Put the beans in your empty bottle and add vodka. I made 1 quart of vanilla, so I needed 20 vanilla beans and a quart of vanilla.



Now you just let it sit for a long time in a cool dark place until it’s ready. You should shake it about once a week to stir up the beans.  I got a lot of different times on how long to let it sit, anywhere from 8 weeks to 6 months!  Mine sat about 5 1/2 months.

When you think it’s done you need to strain it.  A lot of places I read said to strain it into a coffee filter so you don’t get all the seeds, but I didn’t have one and most of my seeds stayed at the bottom of the bottle anyway.


Then I poured the strained vanilla into a new bottle, I didn’t have a funnel so I

made one out of the vodka bottle. 😉


And that’s all it takes ladies (and I guess any gentlemen that read this blog?)


I put all the beans and the vodka I had left over from the first batch into the same bottle with all the seeds to sit another 6 months. I guess you can use the beans twice, so maybe it is cheaper than the imitation stuff?

And finally a picture of the pancakes I made that morning with the ‘real vanilla’.  I’d have to say, I’m kind of disappointed as they did not taste the same way as the first ones 2 1/2 years ago did.  There are several kinds of vanilla beans, so maybe I didn’t get the same kind.  Or maybe I didn’t let it sit long enough and isn’t very strong vanilla. I also wasn’t very good at remembering to shake the bottle, so maybe that was it? The very interesting thing is that the pancakes turned out very fluffy, which they hadn’t been all these years I’ve made them with the imitation vanilla.  Does vodka make pancakes fluffy? 🙂


Saying good bye, Denver, and going home

After not enough days we said our goodbyes at the reunion.  Next time I think we need more days to sit around a talk. (I’m sure my introverted hubby wouldn’t agree with me though).

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Our little cabin, and saying goodbye to Kala. We are both pregnant here: Kala is about 8 weeks I think she said, and I was about 18. 😉

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Pictures from my A. Mimi:

the beard picture:


The whole group:


After we said good bye we left James with my mom and took my two little brothers, Levi and Lincoln, to Denver with us to look for houses.  It was a very frustrating time in Denver.  Apparently the housing market is booming there and stuff is renting or selling extremely fast. I had spent quite a bit of time looking on the internet and making calls before we left, and while we where there I spent hours. Out of the all the e-mails I sent, and phone messages I left only two people called back.  But they were very helpful in the info they gave me.  I found out that we wouldn’t even qualify for the houses we were interested in until Titus has his part-time job.  All in all it was a complete waste of time and money.  We left Denver deciding A. to just live in the hotel we were staying at or B.  get temporary housing and find a permanent house after we move there.  I like option A. 🙂 We have stayed at that hotel twice now and we know the area and how to get to a few places already. ha ha.  With option B, I really really didn’t want to move twice.  Especially since a new baby is coming in December.   But it seems that it’s the best way to go, and most people moving there seem to do it that way.  I took a little time off since being home before looking again.  I thought temp housing would be cheaper, but of course it wouldn’t be.  They are all furnished too, so that means we are going to have to put all our stuff in storage now.  Lovely.  This is by far the most difficult move we have ever done.

Lincoln liked this restaurant we ate at in the Cherry Creek mall because they made smiley faces with the ketchup.


                      Believe it or not the morning we left to drive home Lincoln came down with the flu.  Up to this point this had been the very best trip we had ever gone on concerning our kids and sleep and over all holding up well.   So for the first 10 hours of the trip I A. nursed Gideon what seemed like constantly and B tried to find some kind of happy place while Lincoln threw up in a to go mug behind me. I have a weak stomach anyway but while pregnant it’s even worse!  We stopped at Cabella’s in Omaha to let everyone out for a bit.
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They had a little gun range there that all the boys liked.  Sadly it was not working so no one got to play.


It was a nice break!  By this time I was really tired of riding in the back.  Lincoln being sick and taking care of Gideon had just worn me out. So I told Titus I was ready to drive. After we switched Lincoln made a miraculous recovery, and even felt good enough to play with Gideon a bit. So Titus just sat back there doing nothing while I was stuck in the front trying to endure Levi’s non stop chatter about Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings. After telling me about some guy that stabs some dude and then licks the blood off the knife I got sick again. Yes I’m serious.  By Worthington my stomach was hurting too and before I went to bed for the night both Titus and I had the flu.  Not the greatest conclusion to our trip, but it was a really really short flu so it really wasn’t that bad to get through.

It was so great to see James again. Below are the pictures of Titus showing James his presents since he didn’t get to go to Denver with us.These are some kind of mechanical bugs. I’m not terribly fond of them, but the boys thought they were great!

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Titus also bought James a big spiral train track set for his train table.  It’s really nice. I over heard Titus say to James, “You are a lucky little boy. I never had something like this. I had to wait until I was 27 before I had one!”  Ha ha ha

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And in conclusion, this is what happens when you get back from a long trip, and both parents get the flu.  Titus did his wonderful complete unpacking of the van, he does such a great job getting every last thing. Unfortunately he also did his normal dump-everything-right-inside-the-front-door-so-no-one-can-get-in-or-out specialty too. 🙂


The happiest day of my life.

I just finished reading a two-part series that went through 4 generations of women. It started with the great-grandma and ended with her great-granddaughter.  The great-grandma immigrated to the states and the rest of the story takes place there.  Needless to say the story included at least three wars: WW2, Vietnam and Operation Iraqi Freedom (Titus has a medal for serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom).   If I had known that 3 of the 4 husbands would have gone to war I’m not sure I would have read it.  Even now so many years later war stories and movies still bring it all back.  July 4th will mark 3 years and 7 months since the day that Titus flew into Oahu, completely safe and sound.

It’s kind of a funny story.  I had bought a plane ticket for Nov 5th but a few weeks before Titus’ return date changed to Nov 4th.  I will be forever grateful to the man from the airlines that talked me into spending the $150 to change my ticket a measly 24 hours.  “Just do it. It’s worth it.  You need to be there.” And he was right.  Two of Titus’ friends’ wives picked me up from the airport, took me out to eat (Cheeseburger in Paradise) and let me stay the night with them.  I’ll admit I might not have told the whole truth when I talked to Titus, but is it a lie if you tell the truth in the end? 😉  Titus’ friends on the plane with him told him they had a surprise waiting for him when they landed.  He thought it was a gallon of milk.  He’s such a country, dairy farmer boy. 😉

I didn’t sleep well that night.  It had been 10 months since I had seen him, about six of those he had been in Afghan.  Did we still love each other?  Did we still have things in common? Were we the same people? So much had happened in those few months.  I had moved back to the states after living in Ecuador for 8 months.  My dad almost died.  Titus had been in a IED blast that totaled the truck he was driving. He lost a friend, Garcia, the same week Dad got sick.  He was in a fire fight. He was drained, emotionally and physically.

Nov 4th was hot.  I remember being so warm in the capris and poke a dot shirt I was wearing.  We drove to the military hanger.  It was everything you’d see in a movie: a band was playing, there were flags every where, some people had made big banners that said things like, “Welcome home Daddy”.

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We all watched  the sky, waiting for the plane.

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A wrong one came first, which made us all mad that they would get our hopes up like that.  Someone in the crowd told us that the men are let off the plane alphabetically by last name.  I had to wait for P. Sigh.  When the plane came there was a line of higher-ups that gave them leis and welcomed them home, then they were left to find their loved ones in the crowd of people waiting.

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Titus was one of the first guys off, the whole alphabetically thing was not true. We looked at this picture and we both think the guy at the very very top might be Titus. 😀

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I was in the back and my plan was to wait until he saw me.  He wasn’t after all expecting to see me.  He thought he was going to pick me up later that day at the Honolulu airport.  But I was so happy to see him I ran up to him, put a lei around his neck and hugged him like there was no tomorrow. 😀  He had his gun in one hand and his computer case in the other, and he didn’t hug me back. It was like hugging a pine board. After a second he said, “Um, okay?”.  Ha ha ha, he didn’t know who it was hugging him.  He told me later that he thought I was one of his friend’s wives or something.  So I stepped back so he could get a good look at me.  Once the shock wore off he said, “You aren’t supposed to be here yet.” Now I had kinda thought it would take him awhile to process everything, so I wasn’t mad that he wasn’t more excited to see me.  Men need to think things through for a while sometimes.  We stood at the back and watched other people greeting each other. I distinctly remember this big guy with two huge duffel bags walking up to his girl, throwing the bags on the ground, and grabbing her and kissing her like there was no tomorrow. 🙂  It is a good memory, but at the time slightly awkward since Titus and I weren’t kissing each other yet (we waited until our wedding day).  Then they all had to leave on a bus to go turn in their guns, more waiting for us.  When they came back Titus was mentally ready to see me.  And gave me a big happy  hug.  It was the happiest day of my life.  Some women say it’s their wedding day, the day their first baby is born, maybe it’s your 16th birthday and your dad bought you a car, or the day you graduated from college.  But for me it is Nov 4th about 9:45 a.m.  The day God brought Titus safely home.  Thank you Jesus.

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A quick note, I did not take any of these pictures.  My camera was broken and I didn’t have another one.  All the credit goes to Dog Barney Productions.  Thank you for being there and taking these pictures!  It’s the only picture I have of that week in Hawaii after Titus’ homecoming.

Reading books or watching movies that have war things in them is good for me in a way.  Even though I cry through them all (I almost cried writing this post!) it reminds me of how close I came to losing Titus.  It reminds me that I need to treat him like a hero every day, because that is what he is to me.  It reminds me of the things we went through, to have the very happy life we have now.  Just this week he cleaned the very messy house for me, and had flowers delivered just because.

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He is so sweet, and I don’t deserve him.  I love you honey.  Thank you for serving, and thank you for marrying me.