Monday, November 29, 2010

Good hard & terrible hard...

Bella now vs when you left. She's the same but soooo different!! She's a lady now:)

I told Josh the other day that deployment is hard. It's good hard and terrible hard all at the same time. The good hard involves the way God has worked in my heart to grow my love for Him. I can honestly say that I've had to rely more on God than ever before. I prayed the other night for God to give me the strength, mercy, and joy of two people (me and Josh). I know in my heart that Bella would benefit more from the presence of Josh. He's more calm, more snuggly, and generally cuter than me. But, I know God has given me everything I need to take care of my girl. I honestly don't know how military wives do it with more than one child. I'm sure this is something I will find out down the road...and that scares me. :)

I am thankful for deployment because I love my husband more. Yes, more than on our wedding day. You might wonder how this is possible? Well, first... on your wedding day you "love" your spouse... no doubt. But, you don't get to see them at their best/worst in life. You don't get to laugh so hard you cry together. You haven't had to depend on one another the same way you do in a marriage full of joy and sorrow. You don't get so mad at them you want to scream... but then have "the talk" and love them even more after the fact. We decided that deployment was going to be a good thing. Mostly because it is OUR ministry. Second, our love (and this deployment) is like fine wine.... the longer we wait to taste it, the better it becomes. I will say, yesterday I thought to myself.... we CANNOT do this again (deployment that is)... it's too hard. I mean, I really do feel that way. But, then... a little whisper in my heart tells me that we were made for this very purpose. That HE is stronger and more joyful than I could ever be and that I have access to this strength and joy at all times.

Now, terrible hard... what is that? Well, it's when you love someone so much you want to spend the rest of your life with them. They are you soul mate and best friend. But, then you realize they won't always be around. So, you feel a little lost without them. Like something inside you is missing. That would be some of your heart. It's ok, I think, to feel sad sometimes. To desire them in your presence.

So, all of that said... I was filling out my calendar for December and I actually got to "write down" the day Josh comes home:) Just seeing it on the calendar got me so excited I literally started to shake! It's surreal to think I will have him back. Bella has no idea how much sweeter life is with daddy. :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010



**This is a picture of Josh's fleet (who have now turned for home)...I'm thankful for that!

I know it doesn't feel like Thanksgiving on that ship, not in the same way as it would have if you were with us but, you should know, it doesn't feel like Thanksgiving here either (without you). I'm am currently sitting next to your dream girl-- miss Bella-boo. She's making sheep noises and has peanut butter all over her face. Wish you could see her! I just wanted to thank you for many things. Notably Bella. I adore her because she's a product of us. She is sassy & sweet equally (like her daddy of course) and I love that! I want to thank God for blessing our family. He brought you and me together, gave us a child, blessed us with loving families and friends. He has given us health and joy. He gave us his Son. What more could we be thankful for?

So, when days get tough as you have now turned for home, remember all of the things to be thankful for. I love you.

Other things I'm thankful for besides the most important above (God, hubby, baby, parents & inlaws, siblings)...
Hot baths
Christmas music
The 80's (not the 70's)
The ocean
My Xterra
My college friends
(and all of my friends in general)
The Twilight saga
Harry Potter
John Piper
Live music of any kind...
The fall
I'm thankful that I don't own any pets (but that I can visit them at the pet store and look at their cuteness...then not have to take care of them) **Shout out to Spurgeon & Bunny (my cats I had to give up for the military life--miss you furry demons, no really I do, you are in my dreams sometimes)
Reality TV
God's grace & mercy
George W. Bush
Awkward moments (they make me laugh, and I love them)
Madagascar (Bella's life would not be the same without these movies)
The video Josh made for Bella (I love watching her talk to him, and laugh with him on the screen)
Diet Coke (I'm taking a break from you but I still love you)
The guy who offered to pick up my leaves
The Johnson's for inviting us over for Thanksgiving!

...I'm sure there are many more things I'm thankful for but Bella is trying to take her diaper to go.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone:)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Signs that you are ready for you husband to come home...

It's official, Bella and I are alone.

After six months of family filled traveling, we have reached our final destination...home (happy sigh). Yes, we have arrived here in Nofolk and Bella and I couldn't be happier. She for sure misses her Nanny(s) & Poppa(s) but, overall she's excited to be here. When we walked in the door, at first, she whimpered a little bit...she was confused. After all, she has changed houses every few months for a long time. But, after about an hour...she was running through the house laughing. She found all of her old toys and was buys stacking, sorting, and generally demolishing (as per usual). I was happy to see her happy. Josh's mom was with us for this last leg (which was only fitting as she was there for the first leg). I feel like we completed a marathon. Carol, you are amazing. Thank you for all of the traveling you did with us and for the support you gave us! We love you.

I have a countdown going in my head for the return of my husband. Although I can't give you the exact date, I can say it's less than a month away. I actually thought about him coming home yesterday. I let myself picture us together as a family (which I have not let myself do in a long time) and it was a good feeling. I hate thinking about him coming home because there's still some time to conquer but, let me tell you... the time is coming friends. I will be one happy military wife. Holding my husband will be the greatest Christmas gift I've ever received (besides Christ of course).

Now that we are home and actually ALONE (which is the weirdest feeling ever), I have had this obsessive urge to redecorate our house...yes, something is seriously wrong with me. I've mostly been obsessed with spray paint (not inhaling it of course) but recoloring old frames and what not. Carol and I also used the sewing machine (which has NEVER been used since it's purchase). Here are a few of my "I miss my husband... let me focus on something else" creations:)

Included below (from last to first): 1-Recovered pillows (from old colors I couldn't use to these fun ones) 2- re-purposed frame from cheesy generic picture of a flower to this awesome pattern using card stock 3-spray painted frames and letter (which appears backwards b/c of my Mac) with some fun card stock in frame 4- Awesome $2 plate with one of my favorite vases 5- Home made fabric necklace

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pictures for Daddy


I sent you a link but I'm not sure you can even open it. Here are a few pictures from the 2 year photo shoot of your little girl. The photographer Nicole Pawlaczyk was great. She was probably sweating by the end of this because Bella was running full speed everywhere. It was a challenge to even get a picture of her face. But, here are a few (I can only upload 5)... I love them and hope you do too!

Nicole's website is:

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What's the name of that screw driver thing?

It made me sad yesterday…

…when I finally got to talk to Josh on the phone and I realized I forgot to tell him something so important. He said something to the effect of, "Were you going to tell her daddy this?" (not in a mad tone but just joking around)….after all, he is my "baby daddy".

Seriously though, it made me realize that deployments change EVERYTHING. When your spouse is around, they are the first person you call and converse with about all of life's joys, sorrows, and decisions. When they are gone (for this length of time), you can't just pick up the phone and call them at a whim. In fact, you honestly have to sit and think about all of the important things you need or want to tell them, then you get them on the phone and forget everything. When he calls, I just want to hear him talk. I can close my eyes and picture him sitting next to me, holding my hand. The last thing I want to do is talk about serious stuff. Then I think of all of the things I haven't told him and realize these are memories he will never be able share with us (unless I can recount thousands of hours which, with the brain cells I lost giving birth, makes this improbable).

It's a hard realization. Military wives have to be tough. I would never consider myself "tough". I told the guy that was doing our lawn to stop because I wanted to do it, then I realized…ewe, lawn work. But, I can do it…so I started trimming and sweating and actually enjoying yard work. I've also started all sorts of manly projects around the house. I even used a screw driver the other day! For all of you naturally manly girls out there, don't make fun. I'm just not as manly as you. I would not consider myself overly girly either. So if I'm not a man, and not a girl? Ponder this?

I have to go now because my daughter is standing alone in a corner. This naturally means she's pooping. Josh, here's something you don't know:

Bella+corner=poop. I'm just trying to get you caught up;)

I love you.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

"Our lives will be defined by the love we have for each other and God"

Recent picture of Josh and his buds!

Well, we've finished our travels from this deployment!! The nomads have finally made it home to Norfolk, VA:)

Bella and I have been traveling since May to places in CA including: Merced, Madera, Huntington Lake, Santa Cruz, San Jose, Oceanside, Vista, Murrieta, Balboa Island, LA, Redondo Beach.... and then onto Grand Rapids, MI (Hudsonville to be precise). We've literally lived out of our suitcases this entire time.

Our last leg of this journey was in Michigan and it was wonderful. Bella got to spend quality time with Ricky and Kiki Koole (Poppa & Nanny) and we all got to see her grow up to be a fun little two year old! It was amazing to celebrate her birthday there surrounded by friends and family. She loved wrestling with Poppa and hanging out with her Nanny who got her some great toys and cooked her amazing Kiki dishes! Being around all of her amazing aunts and uncles was such a blessing to me and to her. Family is such a gift from God that I do not take for granted. I thank all of you for being my lifeline while Josh is away. Special thanks to my mom and dad for being so welcoming and hospitable. I mean, when else in life will they get woken up at 5:45 by a little Bella-boo pounding on their door in the morning:) I'm sure that house is a little more peaceful at this point;) I know they miss Bella though... just like her daddy does. It was also amazing to hang out with some of my high school buds:)

So, what is it like to be home?

Well, a little odd. I must say, I was excited to use my own dishes, wash my own clothes, and yes...sleep in my own bed. Minus the fact that Josh's pillow still smells like his cologne---even though I washed it. Yes, I washed it b/c I was trying not to torture myself. Alas, still smells like him. So I guess I have to fall alseep dreaming of him, which is not a bad thing... until I wake up :) Being in Norfolk just reminds me of Josh because everywhere I turn I see a navy man walking around in uniform. It makes me so proud of my husband and the way he is serving this country. I had dinner with about 15 navy wives last night. Some of them have been in for over 20 years. Listening to their stories made me realize that what I do as a navy wife matters. It matters to Josh, to Bella and to everyone I come in contact with.... It also matters to God.

If your wife or husband is near you (or a loved one), go give them a hug... hold them tight. Even if you get frustrated with them, imagine your life without them for one second. It will really put things into perspective. Cherishe your loved ones my friends.

I love your more than life baby. Oh and listen to the words of a sweet email my husband sent me (he may not like that you all will see this side of him, but it's the side I adore)...

My heart has grown so much for you and Bella out here. As I hear the
stories of the Sailors who come to me for help over and over I thank God
for you and how amazing you are. You make life so simple for me. You
allow me to lead, you love me with such purity that I always know of its
truth, you support me so perfectly that I feel 100% assurance that with
God's guidance our lives will be defined by the love we have for each
other and God. I love you Annie Earls, thank you for being my wife.

ahh... mush....

Friday, November 12, 2010

Try It for Seven Months

The article above tells the story of the Carnival Cruise Liner that broke down and became stranded at sea. This story has been in the news for days as if some great tragedy has happened because people are waiting in lines to get their food, and they are without internet and T.V. Worst of all some of the toilets stopped working for a while!
Now I will be the first to tell you that when you spend money and take time off work for a vacation and instead get a Cruise ship that is dead in the water, that it freakin stinks (Ha!! seriously I didn't even mean that), but COME ON!! I dare you to go through it for 7 months. Ask anyone who has deployed with the Navy on a small boy (Frigate, Destroyer, Cruiser).
One second you are talking to your wife back home and lines are down...oh well just wait till next week.
Need to do something online.......ship is pointing in the wrong direction, NO SOUP FOR YOU! (even if you are pointed in the right direction its like 28k speed (that's half of 56k))
And don't even ask about the toilets......somehow even after 7 months some people can't understand that you can't flush rages down the toilet, it clogs everything up.

So, I understand that it is a big deal when a Cruise Liner breaks down in the middle of the ocean, but try going through all the "horrible" things for 7 months, then call me with your whining.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A few birthday pics of Bella's 2nd b-day party...

Tinkerbell cake made by me! This took a LONG time and it was not easy:)

Bella's party was a "costume party" she was a little ballerina:)

Look at this two year old:) Love her!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Our Miracle...

This post is dedicated to my little girl, Isabella ParaLeigh Earls.

Isabella came into this world seven weeks early. She was ready to make an entrance and give me and Josh the surprise of our lifetime. We figured that you just REALLY wanted to meet us so we feel blessed! I remember when the nurse came in and told me that I was going into labor. I was so scared and confused but, I knew that God had already planned this for us. Your daddy was amazing, he helped me in the days following as I got injected with all sorts of medicine to help you stay inside and grow your lungs:) While we were waiting for you, all sorts of amazing friends and Nanny's and Poppa's came to help out… Then, it was time…

You are two years old today and I want you to know how much me and daddy love you. You complete "us". You are cherished more than you will ever know. I remember the day I saw your face for the first time two years ago, I knew my life would never be the same. You give me joy, hope, and a heart full of love for you. You teach me humility and grace. Your daddy loves you more than any daddy has ever loved their daughter. I wish you could see the way he sheds tears every time you fall asleep on his chest. That is true love my dear. I wish for you that he was here to tell you of his love for you….but he shows you every day by living out the life of a godly man. Serving his country and the Lord. Serving you. You are prayed for daily … we pray that God would mold you into the woman of God you will be. Thank you for all of the hugs and kisses. Thank you for the smiles and laughs that melt my soul. Save up some of that sweet love for daddy…. he will need it when he gets back!