A Sunbeam to Warm you, A Moonbeam to Charm You, A Sheltering Angel, That Nothing May Harm You

Friday, December 9, 2011

Egg Nog Latte

About 2 weeks ago my dad brought me an egg nog latte from Starbucks, because my dad knew that that day I needed it. I will always remember and be grateful for the special coffee. A start to the support my parents always give us.

That day while helping my mom decorate their Christmas tree and waiting for Johnny to get out of school Shawn called me on my parents home phone. He had news that turned our entire world upside down.

The Army decided that a unit in Fort Bliss Texas needs Shawn more then the unit in Fort Stewart Georgia, or us. That unit in Texas is headed on a deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan early next year. In one short morning our family went from planning trips to Disney world and the sunny beaches of Georgia to pure panic and anticipation of separation....again. This will be Shawn's third deployment, and at the end he will have spent 3 years of his life in the dessert. Although the first two deployments where not easy, Shawn and I are adults and able to understand that it won't last forever. This will be the first time he will have to be away from his kids. We know kids are strong and resilient and really too young to remember this when they grow up, but it doesn't make the thought any easier. Shawn will miss them and they will miss him. We have plans of recorded stories and video blog updates so that the kids can see him and hear him, and that is keeping me from falling apart.

We don't know a lot of details right now, we are still waiting for some official word to come it. It will happen fast in 2012 so after quickly deciding that me and the kids can't sit in Texas alone (33 hours away from any familiar face) while Shawn is gone and some longer talk about renting a house my parents street, both Grams and Pops offered us their own home. They have taken me in twice making separation and deployment easier, but this time there are three of us, and still my parents did not wait a second to offer us a place to live, support and daily help in the lives of a 3 year old and a 1 year old. They love those kids and they love us too!

We are finding "hidden blessings" in this dramatic turn of events. We have learned to appreciate each other again and living our daily lives as a family. Daddy holds his kids tighter and kisses them more often and I struggle to keep tears out of my eyes. Shawn will have the chance to do school on line and get in better shape down range then he can here. I have the same chance. With my parents to help with the kids and my brother and his family across the street (all who have more then given offers of support) I too can focus on school and maybe double up on classes and get done faster, as well as use the gym right down the street and finally ditch these 60 pounds of baby weight. Biggest of all we have a chance to save money and build a base for the rest our lives. A chance to make up for finical mistakes all young people make and really provide for our children.

I can't imagine how difficult this would be with out my parents gracious love. I feel so well taken care of! My warrior husband headed off to war to protect and provide for us. He has honor to continue his commitment to our country despite how much this will hurt him. My parents never have a second thought to take care of me and my children, no matter how hard it might be to have two young children ripping their house apart day and night. There are not words of thanks for these people I am so lucky to be blessed with as family.

2012 will be hard for the Branson family. We know it is scary, but the kids will not. This will be the fun year they lived with Grams and Pops. We are working very hard so that they never feel the stress of it. Daddy is going on an adventure to the dessert.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Lily Jean 18 Months

Time seems to be flying by! It has been far to long since I have done an update on our little Lily Bean. Her big personality has been emerging so much lately. She is strong and spirited, but still happy and sweet!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Really Cute Dennison Babies

Grams and Pops are amazing Grandparents. There is nothing more important to them then these 6 little children. They spend their days watching Samantha and or Lily, picking Jack up from school, helping me with anything, and their evenings are filled with special time with Ella, Wyatt, or Piper, planning holidays, hosting holidays, creating special moments and memories and now preparing to be foster parents! They have no "free" time, but I know they wouldn't have it any other way!

Hey Johnny hold on to your sister... and he does :)

Six little sweeties all in a row. Ella 7 years, Jack 3.5 years, Wyatt 2.9 years, Samantha 2.5 years, Lily 18 months, Piper 13 months.

Some times kids will be kids!

And some times they will be perfect! All those beautiful babies, cousins, sisters, brothers and all are friends!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Excited and Scared

We receievd official word this week that our family will be moving the Fort Stewart Georgia in February of 2012!! We are very excited for this new possibility of new adventures, but we are scared of leaving friends and family here in Maryland.

Although this blog as been pretty inactive in the past year it will become more active as we move away and loved ones left behind will want to stay involved and up to date. I won't have a choice but to update, so fingers crossed that I will :)

With the move and Christmas we are all pretty revved up and everyone is happy and healthy. Lily is using a lot of words, including "please please" when she wants something. Johnny is asking questions and figuring things out like the very intelligent little boy he is. We are all very happy and looking forward to the holiday season.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Caramel Apples

Mommy did all of the hot work. Johnny stuck the sticks into the apples (then Momma straighten them after the first time the stick popped out of the apple while in the pot of caramel) then Mommy rolled the apples in the caramel and the kids had a blast dumping some sprinkles onto them.
"Look what I did Momma!!"

I just love it when she smiles like that, melts my heart! Check out those 8 teeth!

I can't count the millions on pictures I have of Johnny smiling like this, and I treasure each one!

Ahh I think I see a bath in our immediate future!

I love this fall tradition and I think the kids loved it too! Daddy has been gone for 12 days at training, so we have been keeping busy and only a few days till he comes home!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Lily Dancing and Being Cute

My beautiful ballerina!

Lily has taken to dancing and sometimes singing! It is just too adorable not to video tape.

She mostly just shakes that baby Branson butt, and I love it!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

We Will Never Forget

I was a junior in high school, it seems like a whole different world to me now.

It was any other day, we had not been living in Maryland long, my mom was still unpacking boxes. My dad was still in training for his new government job and was scheduled to tour the Pentagon that day, but for some reason told only me that he wouldn't be there until the afternoon. It is still odd in my head how clear my dad was in telling me something I didn't care about, as a cranky teenager.

Some time in the morning rumors started to circular about a bombing in New York, but how did that effect us a few hours away? Then I walked into Ms. O's class, which is my computer course and the news was on the television. No one talked to each other, all we did was stare at TV. When it came on that a plane had also hit the pentagon, I had one moment of panic and then a deep breath that I KNEW my dad was not there. But my poor mother did not have that knowledge and she could not reach my father becuase training did not stop and he didn't even know about the attach until lunch. Even though he wasn't released from training he drove home, he knew his family needed him.

This is what made my generation what it is. Both Shawn and I joined the Army AFTER 9-11. We knew what we where getting into, but we had pride for our country and wanted to protect it from this, our home, our way of life!

I will never forget sitting with my parents in the basement for hours watching the news. As a teenager I sat quietly with my parents praying in my heart not knowing what the world would look like when the dust settled.

We Will Never Forget!

Friday, September 9, 2011

1st Day of Pre-School

So it might not be actual preschool, I think it is technically nursery school, but all Johnny knows is that he is going to school, like Sid the Science Kid and he is a big boy!

Mommy made special shorts and an embroidered shirt to mark this special first day!
Look Out Pre-K here he comes!

Along with his special toddler sized back pack!

That Mommy made even more special with his name and triceratops!

Even Lily was excited for Johnny to go to school, she got a special supportive little sister, first day of school outfit.

On the drive to school, Johnny had to check to ensure his giant pencils and crayons where right where they should be.

We even took some brownies to thank his new teachers in advance for all their hard work this school year.

Walking down the hallway. I don't know if you can tell, but when Johnny gets anxious or is thinking really hard about something, he plays with his ears, he was anxious but ready for this day.

Once we got into the classroom and hung up his back pack he was ready for his sister and Mommy to be on their way. I asked him to give Lily a good bye hug and he picked her up from behind and swung her around.

Before I even thought of leaving he was wrist deep into learning!

And though I know he loves me, he did not really need me their any more :(

I cried as I walked away. I remember very clearly being hugely pregnant with Johnny when I would pick up or drop off Ella to this same school. It is so strange to be back with Johnny who is now the same age that Ella was when he was born!

Lily and I went to Grams and Pops house, since they live less then 10 minutes from the school and we live more then 20. These two days a week that Johnny will be in school is a perfect chance for Lily to get some time with Sammi and Grams and Papa.

It wasn't long before it was time to get Johnny from school, and boy was he excited to see me!

That smile really makes me feel wonderful! I might actually be doing this parenting thing right for once.

I left Lily with Grams and Pops and took Johnny to a special first day of school lunch, just him and me to McDonalds.

We sat and talked about school for a while. He sang his ABCs, ring around the rosies and the name song for me. Though he couldn't remember his teachers or new friends names quite yet. We will get there.

After lunch, back to Grams and Pops house where we found a congregation in the bathroom, Sammi went pee pee on the potty! Yeah Sammi!!! But I think she wanted us out

And then some Grand kid crazyness, I think my mom handles it well!

And finally some calm hugs and good byes.

What a day! I am so glad he enjoyed himself, I know we are setting him up to love learning for the rest of his life!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pre-School Meet and Greet

Everyday since we bought Johnny's backpack he has asked me if he could go to school. Finally a day came when he got to go to school and meet his teachers and new friends.

And this was his reaction to seeing his new classroom!

And it didn't take long for him to dig right into all of the toys

His teachers also made the rounds to meet and talk to all of the kids.

Lily made herself very comfortable in the classroom, you would think she was starting school.

Here is Johnny's other teachers introducing herself.

Johnny meet lots of friends, and played with this little boy for most of the visit, but when I ask him who his friends are he can't tell me their names.

Papa, Grams and Sammi came to meet the class too, we are a family who supports each other!

Look at that big boy standing in front of the calender all ready for his school to start!

Some time feeding all of us lunch.

And then some time playing Daddy.

He is so excited to go to school, it took a lot of work to get him home after the meet and greet!