Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Chaos Part 1

We had quite the Christmas this year. Lots and lots of places to go and people to see. Claire and I had 3 days of festivities to attend--Claire was such a trooper until Sunday night and by then she had had enough. She took TWO three hour naps on Monday, poor kiddo!

Since, like I said, we had 3 days of Christmas adventures, I will split it up to 3 posts so they aren't so long. :)

Day 1 was spent with the Thomas family. Since Uncle Brian had to work on Christmas Day, we exchanged gifts with them before heading to Claire's great Grandma Audrey's to celebrate.

Claire got a new Twins sweatshirt for spring! As you can see by our faces, Claire was really into saying "OOOO" about all her gifts.

Grandpa helping her open another present (check out the face again).

Uncle Lee! He was so excited that she was willing to sit in his lap for more than 10 seconds. :)

One of the traditions for this side of the family is to read the Christmas story every year. This year, Uncle Brian got to read it and Claire was just mesmerized by his reading.

Sitting with Grammy while gifts were being opened. :)

Check back tomorrow for Part 2: Carey Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Letter 2011

Instead of adding one in with the card, I thought I would write our letter here. Saves paper and ink (and of course my time and money) :).

So, anyway, here is a look back at our year.

Thomas Family 2011

January started off the year with a bang...Bud graduated from EOD school and we (well, the movers) packed up and moved back to North Carolina. We enjoyed re-connecting with friends and beginning the search for our home.

February was filled with house hunting...our poor realtor! I lost track of how many houses we looked at until we finally found the one that was ours. We moved in, and house projects haven't stopped yet! The month spent living in the hotel was NOT fun, and I hope to not have to do that again for a while.

In March, we had our first visitor to our new house! My dad came our for a week to hang out. We also closed on our house and we were finally able to make a few big purchases and start making our house a home.

April was an exciting month for Claire--she went on her first airplane ride! We flew home for my sister's baby shower, and had a great weekend! Claire was (and still is) an excellent traveler. We also spent a lot of time outside, and Claire was able to play at the beach for the first time!

In May, we made another trip to MN, this time for Kelly's bridal shower. While we were there, we made a quick trip to Iowa so Claire could visit Mrs. Johnson (my sister) in 5th grade! Bud was also able to join for a few days (thanks to a convenient lay over in MSP after a work trip to CO) to attend his brothers graduation party! We got our front landscaping finished (thanks to my wonderful husband), we celebrated our 3rd anniversary, and Claire started to crawl!

After two crazy months, June and July were pretty low key at our house. We spent a lot of time together at a family enjoying our crazy little girl. Bud's dad and brothers came over the 4th of July, and then his mom came at the end of the month to help me drive to MN for a really exciting August!

August was quite the month. Bud and I were honored to stand up with our best friends, Kelly and Drew while they were married. Bud literally was in town for less than 48 hours...that's how much we love them. :) Then, on the 12th--sweet Lainey Charlotte was born, and we officially became Auntie Em and Uncle Bud! We got to meet her the morning after she was born, and we completely fell in love!

September was a very fun month as well. With the deployment rapidly approaching, Bud's days at work were short and we got to spend A LOT of time together as a family which was an amazing blessing. My parents were nice enough to come for a weekend so Bud and I could spend some time just the two of us before he left, and it was an awesome weekend. We also celebrated Claire's birthday a few weeks early so Daddy could be there to celebrate.

October was the month I had been dreading for quite some time...just 3 days into the month we had to say good bye to our favorite guy. The rest of October was spent figuring out our new normal, spending lots of time with wonderful friends, and Claire turned one! Her and I spent the day together doing all her favorite things, and really wishing that Bud was with us!

November and December have been crazy--starting with getting ready to travel (packing for 6 weeks is not an easy task), then traveling to MN, then to IA, then to CA, and now we have landed for a few weeks before we travel back to NC! It has been nice to be here with help WHENEVER I need/want it! But, I do miss our house!

Celebrating Christmas before Bud left!

We hope you all are enjoying the season with your loved ones! May 2012 bring joy and happiness!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


***I wrote this a couple days ago but it wouldn't post. We are back in MN now and I will add more pictures from our trip in the next couple days. :)***

Just a quick update from Cali....

We were supposed to head home on Monday, and shortly after I told my sister on Sunday that I really could stay a few more days, Claire decided to make that happen! She decided to get the flu! Monday, about a half hour before we needed to leave she threw up twice and I quickly called the airline and changed our flight to Wednesday. Thank goodness for an understanding friend and a helpful lady at Delta!

Before the flu hit, we had a great weekend! Disney was an absolute blast, Saturday we let the girls recover and I had my first In N Out Experience (YUM) and Sunday we went to an awesome children's museum called "Pretend City". There was a grocery store, farm, fire and police station, house, beach, library, post office, etc...and what was Claire's favortie thing? A bridge. Seriously. The kid loved it. Goof ball.

I will post my pictures when we are back in MN, but here are a few from Suzanne's camera...

Claire loved her ride on Dumbo!

Two sleeping girls = SUCCESS!

By far, Claire's favorite part of the day was the parade! She absolutely loved every second and more than once tried to join in!

We fly to MN tomorrow...then I have got to get busy Christmas shopping! Yikes! Are you done shopping? Want to help me? :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

California Dreaming...

Tomorrow morning Claire and I are heading out to California to visit my good friend, Suzanne and her little munchkin, MacKenzie. Suzanne and I met first through an online forum that I belong to, and then both of our husbands were at EOD school at the same time. They are now stationed out there, and we decided Bud's deployment was a perfect excuse to have a girls weekend. The first time I traveled to California was for Bud's boot camp graduation in 2005, when we weren't even 'technically' dating. Now we are married with a baby and I am going to visit a friend that I met during this crazy ride of military life....funny how life works.

I am really excited to see them, but not gonna lie, I am a little more excited about going to DISNEYLAND!!! I have been to Disney World twice, but never Disneyland, and I. Am. Pumped.

I am also excited to get away from the cold from a few it got cold fast!! But, I must admit, someone looks awfully cute all bundled up in her snow suit...

Check back next week and I will have some pictures for you. I can not wait to see Claire's face when she sees Mickey and Minnie---she LOVES Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Her face will either show sheer terror or joy...and either will be priceless. :)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Books from Daddy

Before Bud left, he recorded 3 different books for Claire. They have become favorites in our house, and Claire especially loves them because all she has to do is open the cover and the book starts to read! :) I brought them all to MN with me so she doesn't miss out on the books. In the last month or so she has really gotten into choosing these books on her own and wanting to read them. If I tell to go get Daddy's books, she knows what they are and brings them to me.

Here are a couple shots of her reading one of them last night...

At the end of every book, Bud says "I love you!" so she knows that it is the end, and now she will say "ahhhh duh" (obviously, all done. HA). It is so incredibly sweet.

Thank you, babe, for taking the time to record these books for our sweet girl. She loves them so much...her new favorite thing is to open all three of them at the same time. It is so funny but she just loves to hear your voice! We love you and miss you so much!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

So Much to be Thankful For...

For the first time since we have been married, I was in MN for Thanksgiving this year. The past 3 years, we had family come to our house. 2008 was Bud's family, 2009 my mom and sister came, and 2010 my dad came for the long weekend to meet our sweet Claire bear! It was also the first time since we have been married that we have spent this holiday apart, and man, did that bite. I didn't even realize that until the end of the day, when I couldn't figure out why I was in such a funk about the day. Then it dawned on me...I have done seemingly every other holiday/birthdays/anniversary alone, but not Thanksgiving and Christmas. We had been very lucky with being together for so many years, and I know it is my turn.

Claire and I started the day with my mom's side of the family. Keeping with tradition from practically before time, we eat at 1 pm at my Grandma's house. The food was delicious, the kids were adorable, and I did the dishes for (I think) the first time. I'm a big girl now. :)

A few pictures from Grandma Carey's...

Claire opening her ornament from Great-Grandma

5 of the SIX great-grand daughters!

First time in 3 generations (probably more) girls out number boys--

my mom has 4 brothers, I have 7 male cousins (only 3 girls)

and NOW...

6 boys and 5 girls! So fun!!

After that meal, Claire and I went to Bud's Granny's house for dessert. Claire had her first taste of french silk pie and she approved. :)

Then on Friday, we headed to Iowa with my parents to celebrate (and eat) again with my Dad's side of the family. Our weekend was full of food, family and laughs....all the best things in life. :)

Claire got to love on her sweet cousin, Lainey WAY more than Lainey would have liked! Claire is a little obsessed with her, and poor Lainey can't defend herself yet! Claire just couldn't get close enough to her and there is no such thing as too many kisses for sweet Lainey!

She also showed her goofy side in full force, and had the entire room of adults watching her and laughing at her. She is a lot like her daddy some days. :) And, check out the hair on this kid. Totally cracks me up at the end of the day when I pull her pony tails out and it does this.

Like always, there was game time after meal time. Until I was about 13, my grandma didn't have a TV in her house. This lead to lots of creative play, time outside and many, many games of LIFE and paper football. We also still giggle like little kids when my Uncle Bill is around....Aunt Barb always tells us NOT to encourage him, but it is so hard not to! :)

Even though I was missing my husband so incredibly much, I have so much to be thankful for. I like to make lists, so here are my top 5 things that I am thankful for this year.

5--I feel really lucky to own our own house and vehicles, to always have food in the cupboard and clothes on our bodies. In this economy, I understand just how blessed we are to be in the position we are.

4--Our families and friends are awesome. Simple as that.

3--The chance to stay home every day with Claire is something that I will cherish forever and something I am INCREDIBLY thankful for. I am so lucky to be able to spend my days with her!

2--Claire and Lacey are making this deployment much less lonely than the last two. I HATED sleeping alone before, and now with Lacey on the pillow next to me (very spoiled, yes), it isn't as bad. And, Claire is just amazing. Her smile lights up a room, and I am lucky enough to be her mama. You should be jealous. ;)

1--My dear, (sometimes) sweet, (always) sarcastic, AMAZING husband. I tell him this often, but almost everything that I am thankful for wouldn't be possible with out him. He works so hard and gives up so much to not only provide for his family, but protect the nation. He is my hero and my favorite person in the world to be with. I miss him so much it hurts, and I can not wait for May to be here so I can have that sassy man back in my house. I love you, babe!

Hope you all had a great, long Thanksgiving weekend filled with lots of yummy food and precious time with the ones you love!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Deployment Update

We are almost two months into this deployment! Yay! Bud is doing great, and we have been lucky enough to be able to talk a lot lately. He and Tim got their own tent and a computer and phones to do their reports on, so he has been able to call A LOT and it has been awesome! Hearing his voice puts me in a fabulous mood and plasters a smile on my face for at least 24 hours.

A couple weeks ago, the combat photographer went out with Bud and Tim and got some awesome pictures of them. Just looking at all of Bud's gear makes me tired...I can't imagine carrying around all that extra weight all the time! He said one day they did have to run to a incredibly in shape husband admitted he was REALLY tired and REALLY sweaty by the time he got there after running in all his gear! :)

that black thing at his feet is his metal detector

bud (left) and tim

Bud finally started getting his packages this week--between him and Tim I think they got about 10 boxes in two days. :) Two very spoiled (and very deserving) guys! Since it is just the two of them in their tent, he said they have food everywhere, two tables just full of it. They took everything out and organized it all so that a like things are in the same box. :) You think they have been a little slow with work this week? ha. He is healthy, eating well, getting plenty of rest and has been able to call almost every day for the past week--I couldn't ask for much more!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Update/Trip to the Zoo

It was brought to my attention today that I have been seriously slacking in the blog department. Sorry! Not completely my fault tho--our computer really started acting up before we left NC, and it wouldn't let me upload pictures to here, and what fun are blog posts with out pictures?

And, I have been a bit busy since Bud left. :) Between the kid, the dog, keeping up with the house and packing for a 6 week trip, I haven't had all that much free time!

Bud is doing great...he sent me a couple pictures a couple weeks ago that I will post tomorrow (PROMISE). I will give you a better update on him tomorrow.

Claire and I are doing well. We are enjoying our time in MN, and Claire is soaking up all the attention. Unlike her mother, she looooves to have people to entertain. She hates when I leave the room, but as long as I am in there, she is a little social butterfly. It is quite hysterical. She is officially a walking, talking toddler. She is so incredibly busy, and cracks me up all day long. She is making this deployment fly by and I am so thankful for her.

On to our trip to the zoo. Before we left North Carolina, we had been keeping busy with a lot of the wives and children of the guys in Bud's section. There are a lot of children between all of us, and we all get along quite well. It is really great to have this support system of women around me who understand what I am going through.

Anyway, one morning, Courtney, Jaci and I and our 4 kids decided to check out the 'zoo' that is just outside town. I say 'zoo' because, growing up where I did, the MN Zoo was the zoo I went to, and it is hard to compare I guess. Small town zoos just aren't the same! The kids had a blast anyway, and towards the end, the owner brought out a few animals for the kids to feed and touch. Claire wasn't too into it, but Cayden and Leila (both 2) loved it! Here are a few pictures....

This poor goat...Cayden kept chasing him, and he did not appreciate it!

This turtle was enormous! Leila loved it, but Claire REFUSED to touch it.

We thought we could get all 3 kids to touch the turtle and what a cute picture that would be to send to their daddies...Claire had other plans!

Best picture of the 3 big kids

(Connor was in the stroller)