Tag Archives: Titus

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”.

2_3 HOMECOMING 4NOV09 2009_11_05_22_20_28

We all watched  the sky, waiting for the plane.

2_3 HOMECOMING 4NOV09 2009_11_05_22_20_28

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.

2_3 HOMECOMING 4NOV09 2009_11_05_22_20_28

2_3 HOMECOMING 4NOV09 2009_11_05_22_20_28

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. 😀

2_3 HOMECOMING 4NOV09 2009_11_05_22_20_28

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.

2_3 HOMECOMING 4NOV09 PART 2 2009_11_05_22_41_20

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.

IMG_0852         IMG_0851

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

One more parade! Jackson

I guess we weren’t done with parades yet.  We were invited by Dustin and Samantha to go to the Jackson parade with them and then a cookout afterwards. This parade was smaller and not nearly as long as the other two we’ve been too, which turned out to be a good thing because my boys hardly watched it.  I think they are paraded out. 😀

To me the best part of this parade is that Titus came with us.  Thank you Angela for milking and doing chores so we could have a family day.

IMG_0814 IMG_0819

My kids got way more candy this time around.  At first I thought it was because this parade just handed out more candy, but then I figured out that we weren’t sitting with a bunch of other kids like the last parades.  They had all the candy to themselves.

IMG_0816 IMG_0815

Picking up candy:

IMG_0818 IMG_0828 IMG_0829

James got this little green ball from someone and he was more excited about that then watching the parade or picking up candy.

IMG_0830      IMG_0831

Gideon on the other hand finally got the idea and didn’t have any big kids getting in the way.  He kept clutching the candy in both his chubby little hands. It was very cute.

IMG_0821 IMG_0822

Despite the candy Gideon still wanted to wander off, which he did at all the other parades.  I think he would have been happy to walk in it. 🙂  It was nice to have someone else chase him for a change.

IMG_0823 IMG_0824

The cutest part of this parade were the mini ponies with little kids riding them.  I’m begging Titus for mini ponies now so that James and Gideon can start riding them and stop trying to ride the dogs at Grandma’s. 😉

IMG_0826 IMG_0825

After the parade we went to a grocery store to get stuff for the cookout.  This was a new store and they had carts with cars on the front. Boy oh boy were my kids excited!!!  I wish our store would get some!  Of course we got the one that only had one steering wheel instead of two (it was broken) and it didn’t take long for the fighting to begin.


Then we went to the park and played while Dustin cooked. Thanks Dustin!

IMG_0838  IMG_0840

IMG_0841   IMG_0839

Titus and I lounging in the grass.


James and baby Thomas.


It was a fun family day.  After we ate Dustin and Samantha came over to our house. Then they decided to stay the night and go to church in the morning with us! What fun. I can be spontaneous if I don’t know it’s coming. 😉  I had to quickly come up with a Sunday dinner though. So I cooked a roast in the oven, but had to stop at the store on the way home for potatoes. They weren’t anything special, just baked in the microwave.  I also made caramelized carrots, which were really good.  Dustin said it was the best pot roast he had ever had.  Which was really nice, but I can’t take credit for it.  I didn’t do anything to it! I was completely out of seasonings so I just threw it in a roasting pan with some water and cooked it while we were at church.  My in-laws just grow really good beef. 😀

All in all it was a great day!

Another try at a family picture.  We did wait until the parade was done, but there must of been

something over there that was interesting!

IMG_0833      IMG_0832

Milking the Cows and other fun stuff on the farm

Titus had been milking later in the morning and since the kids and I have been getting up earlier we went with him for a few mornings.  The kids loved it.  We normally go in the evening, which really doesn’t work very well since we all come home starving and there is no one cooking. 🙂   Since we aren’t going to be dairy farmers for very much longer I took a ton of pictures! Oh my goodness!

James helping feed the baby cows:

IMG_0757     IMG_0755

IMG_0751    IMG_0748

Titus hard at work:

IMG_0762      IMG_0760

Playing in the grain:

IMG_0767      IMG_0768

And the lime:

IMG_0769          IMG_0763

James actually understands where the lime is supposed to go:

IMG_0772    IMG_0770

I think Gideon just goes for all the Daddy hugs:

IMG_0774      IMG_0747

Gideon is also too scared to walk any further in the barn with out holding someone’s hand:

IMG_0775      IMG_0777

Trying to get to the hay mow:

IMG_0781         IMG_0780

Mister Hot himself:





(Not sure what’s with Titus’ face. Guess he was in a playful mood.)


Feeding the goats:

IMG_0791       IMG_0792 IMG_0800       IMG_0797

Begging for a ride on the tractor:


I think their new favorite thing to do is go for rides on the four wheeler.  Yes I know that doesn’t look very safe. And yes I kinda wish they had helmets on.  And yes I don’t drive very fast at all.


Playing with Grandma’s puppies:

 IMG_0804 IMG_0802 IMG_0807 IMG_0806IMG_0805

There is a sense of freedom that you get in the country.  I hope some day to move to a quiet little spot.

IMG_0811 IMG_0812


The birth story

Gideon Jonathan Penner: born April 4, 2012 (on his grandpa Jonathan’s b-day) at 10:47 a.m. 9 pounds 4 ounces 22″ long

I used to be one of those girls that just rolled her eyes when birth stories came up.  I’d give my mom about 5 -10 minutes before her or the person she was talking to starting talking about one of their kid’s birth stories.  I just didn’t get it.  I know how all my cousins, friends, and their friends came into this world.  But after having just one child and now a second I totally get it.  It’s the most amazing accomplishment a woman can do in her life.  Women who have given birth know this and love to talk about it.  I think it’s an even deeper feeling for moms that give birth naturally without any pain meds.  I found this out after I had James.  I have a huge sense of pride in myself and my body to be able to create something so amazing and so beautiful.  A woman’s body is incredible!

A week ago today we welcomed into this world a second son, Gideon.  Last Tuesday in the afternoon I started having very strong braxton hicks.  I now know it was pre-labor but then I just thought it was the same old practice contractions.  I put James in the stroller and went for a walk to the park.  We were at the park for about an hour playing and watching the other kids play.  Every time I moved I would have really strong braxton hicks.  I almost called Titus to tell him that I thought maybe I was in labor.  But again I told myself, “Nah, it’s just braxton hicks.  No need to get Titus excited.”  I was ONLY 9 days past the due date at this point. ha ha  James and I walked home and I had to grip the stroller handle bars for support at times.  Still didn’t think I was in labor…..

That evening Titus built a wonderful fence around the front yard so James can play without going in the street.  It was an early birthday present!  And I love it!  At that point all pre-labor had stopped.  Of course as soon as I went to bed it started up again but I think I slept about an hour or so before they got really strong.  At 2:30 the contractions woke me up and I knew that this was labor.  I seem to be doomed to losing a night of sleep.  So unfair.  So I got up and sat on the exercise ball for awhile, did some reading, some timing, watched an episode of Reba.  James woke up at one point and I rocked him in the rocking chair for awhile then carried him to our bed.  Titus got up around 4 and I told him I was in labor.  We called the mid-wife around 6 and she didn’t laugh when Titus told her I had said I wanted to go to the hospital and get an epidural. 😀  Titus told me not to joke about that. (who’s joking????)  James woke up again and we got him back to sleep.  Then Sue came a little after 7 and I was happy to see her.  It’s kinda hard to know when to call the mid-wife since you don’t want to call them to early. She took the baby’s heart rate (124-132) and then we just waited.  My mom came to get James at 8.  I was kind of in a resting period with contractions and James was able to sit on my lap for awhile before he had to leave, which he wasn’t very happy about. Poor little guy.

Around 10 I had really bad back pain.  I think I could get through labor so much better if I didn’t have back pain.  Every time I would go from sitting to standing I would get horrible back pain.  I didn’t have that with James at all, so it was very surprising to me this time around.  Titus would rub my back with a vibrating back massager which did help a little bit.  As the contractions to closer and stronger I kept thinking to myself, “If my water would just break then I can start pushing!!”  But I do think I started pushing before my water broke, and that created a lot of pressure!  Once my water broke the contractions were so strong.  Way worse then with James!  I couldn’t believe how intense they were!!  I told Sue and Titus I thought I wanted to try a different position, but when they asked me how I wanted to be I couldn’t tell them.  All I wanted to do was lie down somewhere soft. Sue told me that I only had two more pushes and the baby would be there.  I didn’t believe her since when I was in labor with James that mid-wife had said, “Only one more push.” about a billion times.  But I held onto that hope of only two more.  And she was right!  Two more pushes and Gideon was here!  Titus says I only pushed for about 15 minutes.  My water broke at 10:45 and Gideon was born at 10:47!! The first thing I said was, “He’s so fat!” ha haImage

By 11:30 we were comfortably nursing on the couch.  God has so blessed our little family!  I love the fact that because I wasn’t going to a doctor I wasn’t induced and Gideon was born on his grandpa’s birthday.  What a blessing that could most likely have been missed.  Birthing at home is such a wonderful experience!  You are surrounded by your own stuff, and it’s just you, your hubby, and the midwife.  No bright lights, people you don’t know, and no IV’s! ha  ha (I’m not good with needles…)

I asked Titus how he would describe Gideon’s birth and he said, “Fast!” ha ha!

I’m just glad it’s all over. Being pregnant after already having a baby is totally different then the first time around.  You kinda know what you’ve gotten yourself into now and you really don’t want to do it again.