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.