Friday, April 20, 2018

Annabelle: 2.5 Years Old

Somehow, I blinked, and my first baby turned 2.5 years old. This happened back at the beginning of March, and she's now closer to three than she is to two. And she sure has the attitude to show it!

Our little Annie finally has all of her teeth, but she is somehow STILL in pain. She has really struggled with those dang teeth, but we're hoping we're almost done dealing with them.

She's still super tall and super skinny! Lucky girl! But it's still tough finding clothes that fit her correctly. Thankfully, she's been really into dresses lately, so that's been a little easier. I just make her wear biker shorts underneath because she seems to always be upside down. I give her two choices every morning: first, she chooses if she wants a dress or shorts/pants and a shirt for the day. Then, once she chooses, I pull two of whatever she picks out, and she then chooses her outfit. She's can get undressed by herself completely, but she is just starting to be able to put her clothes on correctly. It takes her a while, but she's getting it.

Annabelle loves dancing, and she goes to ballet class once a week. She has a recital coming up in June that we are really excited about! She seems to be very musical as well - she sings all day every day and always asks for music to be playing if it's quiet in our house (or outside).

She is strong and quick and sassy. She throws tantrums like none other, but she also gives the very best hugs, kisses, and Ugga Muggas. She is still learning to follow directions quickly, but as long as we're not in a huge rush, she does okay. She likes baths again and asks for them daily. She is obsessed with Paw Patrol, Trolls, and Daniel Tiger. She colors with crayons or markers every single day.

Annabelle is the BEST big sister. She walks out of her room every morning saying, "Good morning, Josie!" and is almost always eager to give her kisses and throw away diapers for me.

We can't believe how much Annabelle has grown as a person lately. She's a little human with emotions (lots of them) and opinions (also lots of those), and we're hopeful that we can help guide her into the best person she can be.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

B Course Half Way Update

I can't believe B Course is already about half way over. It seems like we just arrived in Florida, and now we *might* be getting ready to move again! We should find out around the end of this month (I'll believe it when I see it - ha!) if we are staying here at Tyndall AFB or moving to Langley AFB in Virginia, Hickam AFB in Hawaii, or Elmendorf AFB in Alaska.

Dan started B Course at the beginning of January, and he will graduate toward the end of August. He is really enjoying flying, but it is an exremely heavy workload. He is gone ALL DAY most days. If he flies in the afternoon, he isn't home until at least 7:00 but usually more like 8:00 or 8:30.

If he isn't flying, he's doing simulators or in class. He is ALWAYS busy. It's a good busy for him, but the girls and I wish he had a bit more time at home.

We love watching him from the front yard. If we know when he's taking off, we go outside and watch, and it is just really awesome knowing it's him up there! (See video at the end of this post for the view we have all the time!)

Dan has been able to take off with the afterburner a few times and always comes home so excited telling me about how amazing that is. He's also been able to refuel mid-air several times. To do that, they hook up with a KC-135 tanker. I'm hoping someday I'll be able to go on a spouse flight on the tanker and watch him refuel. Some squadrons do that, and I have my fingers crossed!

Time is flying by. I know how badly Dan wants to finish B Course and be a part of the "real" Air Force finally - he'll be deployable soon after, and with the way things are currently going in a certain part of the world, that makes me pretty uneasy... but it's what he's been training to do for what feels like forever!

Here's how cool his job is - and it's great being able to watch!

Do you have any questions about pilot wife life? Or B Course? In general? I'd be happy to answer - just drop me a comment or send me an email!

Monday, April 16, 2018

First Flight in the F-22 Raptor!

On Thursday, February 22nd, 2018, Dan got to take the F-22 Raptor up in the air for the very first time! If you want to skip all the chatter, be sure to watch the one minute video of him taking off... it's at the very end of this post!

All flights are solo since it's a single seat jet, and let's just say I was terrified out of my mind. A friend took me up to the tower at Tyndall AFB (another pilot in Dan's class) so I could watch him take off, so luckily he was able to explain everything to me as it was happening.

As nervous as I was (and still am every day that he flies), I know he was more than prepared for this after all the simulated flights he's "flown" from the ground.

He had a blast and did well! He has since conquered a few phases of B Course and even refueled in the air with a tanker! So cool!

This is probably the neatest photo we have together - I'm obvious... but my stud of a husband is in that jet taxiing behind me! SO COOL.

Since it's been a while since I've given an Air Force life update, I'll write a separate post about that soon. It's hard to believe he's already about half way through B Course! 

Friday, January 19, 2018

First Day of F-22 Raptor B Course!

At the beginning of January, Dan FINALLY started B Course for the F-22 Raptor! This had been a long time coming, since he found out this is what he'd be flying last June at drop night! There are only two classes per year for the Raptor, though, and the last one started in July before he had completed IFF or Water Survival.

This is going to be a grueling nine months for him as he completes academics (now) and simulator training before finally flying the jet (probably in March) for the first time! Oh, and since it's a single seat jet, he'll be flying it completely solo for his very first (and every) flight! Ahh! I am going to be in panic mode that day, but hopefully I'll be able to go out and watch him take off!

Anyway, send good vibes for his training these next nine months and for my parenting ability for our two sweet girls since I'll be alone with them a lot of the time while he's busy training and studying!

(and in case you don't know what a Raptor looks like... here's one!)

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Our 3rd PCS in 3 Years

Mid-December, when sweet baby Josephine was just two weeks old, we gathered what we'd need for two weeks and moved out of our home in Texas and into the TLF at Sheppard Air Force Base. We needed to get all of our belonging packed up and moved out so we could clean the house for our new tenants.

This is the first time we did not do a DITY move. In fact, we had people do almost everything for us, aside from Dan finishing up his home renovations - which turned out awesome, by the way, but that's a post for another day!

We had the movers pack and load up the truck, and we even hired someone to deep clean the house and another to clean the carpets - all things we've typically done ourselves. That just wasn't feasible with a toddler AND a newborn, though. Overall, our experience with the military moving us went much smoother that we imagined, but we still like that extra payout from DITY moves.

Half way through our TLF stay, the water heater leaked all over the laundry room, and we were forced to move into one of the MUCH older units across base. Lame. But it worked out okay... it was just a huge hassle to pack up all of our things (you have a LOT of stuff when you have two young kids, so I'm not exaggerating the hassle here), especially when we had plans to meet some people for dinner at a specific time. Yikes. That is a day I don't want to re-live.

Finally, we made it out of Texas, though, and started our trek to Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City, Florida. Thank goodness for our camper because we were able to sleep in it each night instead of moving all of our stuff to a different hotel room each night. It was also nice for discretely nursing Josephine along the way. We could stop anywhere, and I'd just get in there with her and not have to worry about using one of our covers (that we actually LOVE, by the way, but we were still learning our breastfeeding relationship at this point - remember, she was VERY young still!)

On day one, we made it to Louisiana and spent the night. On day two, we drove through the rest of Louisiana and all of Mississippi and stayed in Alabama. We made it into Florida on the third day, had lunch with some friends along the way, and then made it to our home! It was late, and our stuff wouldn't be delivered until the next morning, so we actually parked our camper at the Fam Camp at Tyndall and stayed in it for one last night.

The next morning, our household goods arrived! (Quick - I know! It helps that it wasn't peak PCS season... and it also meant that we skipped our New Orleans adventure we had planned because they called and said it'd be there on Monday morning, and if we weren't there, it'd go into storage... that meant we'd be waiting for our bed (and more importantly, Annabelle's bed!), and it would have another opportunity to get lost or damaged... so we said okay and hightailed it to Florida, skipping our time in New Orleans.)

I really like our new home. We're just renting for the time being since B Course is only a nine month training. If we end up staying at Tyndall after he graduates, we'll want to buy somewhere in this area... but this house is totally great for what we need right now! And it's in the closest neighborhood to base (which is still a 15 minute commute for Dan each day... the city is weird).

I can't say that we're in love with Panama City... it's very different from what we assumed... BUT we're going to give it a fighting chance before we make that decision since the weather has been SO COLD (worse than it's been in 28 years, in fact, according to the news), and we haven't had time to go do anything fun... so we'll blame the "blegh" feeling on that for now and hope we end up enjoying it more once it warms up!

Now we wait to find out if we will be staying at Tyndall for Dan's follow-on flying assignment or if we'll be moving again this fall. We will put in our request in a couple months and find out hopefully sometime in May or June. He graduates in August and goes to SERE after that, so we'd be moving in October or so if we do!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Annabelle's Two Year Stats

Earlier this week, I shared with you all about Annabelle's second birthday party and how we spoiled her rotten on the day of her actual birthday (way back in September), but I didn't want to lose track of her two year old stats by combining them in that post... so here they are getting the recognition I think they deserve (and likely that no one else cares about, haha). 

At two years old, Annabelle is standing 36 inches tall and weighs 25 pounds - still a string bean! It's tough to find clothes that fit her well because they either are too short or fall right off her waist.

She LOVES LOVES LOVES playing outside and asks to do so daily. She is a strong-willed, stubborn little girl who knows exactly what she wants. She is fierce and independent and could probably just raise herself if we'd let her. She is so much fun, too, though, dragging us along to play with her and color with her. She has a passion for books, art, and music, it seems, and we plan on letting her explore whatever areas she has interests in.

Annabelle has so many great friends at Sheppard AFB who she plays with at the library story time, Urban Air, and on play dates around the city of Wichita Falls! She is a social butterfly and LOVES seeing her "baby friends" (as she calls them). She loves animals, especially marine/aquatic animals, and she poses for me to take her pictures (usually).

She is such a sweet AND sassy girl, and we love her dearly!

*** Written after her birthday after we've already moved to Tyndall AFB in Panama City, FL, but her birthday was a couple months before we PCSed!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Our TWO Year Old Annabelle

Annabelle turned TWO years old... way back in September! We are so glad we were still in Texas at that point because we got to have a big celebration with all of her friends! And my family was even able to drive down to spoil the birthday girl!

We had a children's book themed party for her - complete with all of her favorites! I hung up balloons to look like the very hungry caterpillar... we made snacks that matched several books, typed out cute book quotes to hang around the party area, and I even made little cupcake toppers to look like her favorite book covers! Our party favors were books with a bag of "book worms" (aka gummy bears). I loved planning this party for my sweet Annabelle, and I know she had a blast!

Oh, and I couldn't resist making her a giant 2 out of her photos from that year! Everyone got such a kick out of the huge 1 I made for her first party, and I just had to! Hopefully I'll be able to continue that (and do the same for little sister!) but we'll see!

(for reference... the 2 was a bit smaller than the 1!)

On her actual birthday (the following Tuesday from the party), we spent all day celebrating! I took her to a painting class for toddlers, followed up by a quick stop to buy donuts... which we ate in the backyard at her request and then played in the water table! We then had Whataburger for lunch, went to the bounce house and jumped and played in the ball pit, and ended the day with a trip to Chick Fil A and cupcakes in the backyard!

Do you do themed parties for your kids' birthdays? 

Monday, January 1, 2018

2017: A Year in Review

2017 was a year we knew would be exciting... but we didn't bet on SO MUCH excitement!

We were able to travel a few times - to San Antonio for Dan's centrifuge training, to Dallas / Ft. Worth for a long weekend, and to Kansas City, MO for a week and a half! We didn't take any huge trips, but that's okay. Sometimes, less is more.

We celebrated eight years together as a couple and Dan flying (and completing) the T-38 at pilot training. We shockingly found out we were pregnant with Baby Cookie 2.0 (a total surprise!) and celebrated our third wedding anniversary.

The biggest event of the summer was drop night - finally finding out that Dan will be flying to F-22 Raptor for the world's greatest Air Force! He graduated from pilot training later than month, and Annabelle took swim lessons and went to her first movie in a theater (to see Trolls) - fun times!

Shortly after, we found out Baby Cookie 2.0 was another girl - yay! We celebrated Annabelle's second birthday in September, Dan's start and finish of IFF (Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals), had maternity photos taken in early November, and welcomed tiny Josephine in late November!

And our last major event for the year? Moving across the country! The Air Force sent us to Tyndall AFB in Panama City, FL, where we'll be for about 10 months.

I hope everyone else had a great 2017 as well. Cheers to 2018!