Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Newsletter! 2010

Just click on the image and it should enlarge so you can read it!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Scott's Homecoming!!

I know it's been forever since I last blogged, so I'm just now finally getting around to posting this! My girlfriend Crystal did this awesome montage of a bunch of pictures she took when Scott came home, and she just sent it to me so I thought I'd share it with everyone. I'll post more updates soon, promise! :) Thanks again Crystal!!!

Stewart Homecoming from Crystal on Vimeo.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Trip to Utah

So, I know it's been almost a month since the kids and I went to Utah, but, like always, I'm playing catch-up. It was such a fun trip and I'm so glad I had a GREAT excuse to go up there. A really cute young Marine family in my ward had just gotten the green light to get their endowments and to be sealed together in the temple. Since they had just gotten out of the Marine Corps and moved up to Utah, that's where they decided to get these ordinances done. Thankfully, they let be apart of thess special days and gave me a wonderful excuse to make a trip up to Utah, visit a big chuck of my extended family, and revisit a very special temple.

On our way up to Utah, we stopped in Las Vegas for the night and stayed at the BEA-U-TI-FUL Mandalay Bay Hotel. I LOVE this hotel. Ok, so I've always wanted to stay there, but it's always been too pricey for Scott and I (reminder that Scott is more of the penny pincher in this equation then I...). Welp, I found a great deal and booked the room! It was a total treat! It was 110 degrees outside, so we spent over 3 hours playing in their AWESOME "beach" pool. It was sooo relaxing, even with my two little monsters splashing all over the place! A great way to start this road trip.

For the first few days we were in Utah we stayed with my Aunt Susan up in Kaysville. We had so much fun hanging out with the whole Wiser clan (minus two sons, one on a mission and one busy with work). This is where the kids fell in love with Lego's (saved from when Susan's 4 boys were much younger) and since then I have succumbed to buying a basic set for the kids to play with. Thanks Aunt Susan and Uncle Jerry for letting us stay with you!!

Our busiest day of the whole trip was on Sunday when after packing the car back up and saying good-bye to my aunt & uncle, we went to church with my Uncle Quin's family (thankfully also in Kaysville!) and I was blessed with sitting in on my Aunt Heidi's lesson for her Mia Maid class and then my Uncle Quin's Gospel Doctrine Class, where I learned a bunch of cool stories about my ancestor's that I've never heard before! Such a treat! After church we drove down to Sandy and had a huge (& delicious!) meal with my Uncle Mark's family. They caught me up on all of my 7 cousins and their 6 grand-children, crazy! We even got to see my cousin Paul and his wife and baby, who were visiting from Pennsylvania. We finally made our way down to Orem, where we stayed for the rest of our trip with my Aunt Judy and Uncle Vern. So, in one day I saw all my Aunt's and Uncle's on my father's side and none of them saw each other. It was a really good day, long, but good! ;)

While in Utah I took the kids to the Oquirrh Mountain Temple open house. It was so awesome to walk through! I really wish I could've enjoyed it more, but having Lindie in a stroller that didn't want to cooperate and then having her break down into hysterics because I wouldn't let her run around, was a little bit of a distraction to say the least. I'm just extremely grateful for the cookies they provided to everyone after the tour- the quickest way to silence my kids!!

And the high-light of the trip was attending my friends endowment session and then their sealing the following day (which also happened to be my birthday!!). They had both ordinances done at the Mount Timpanogas Temple in American Fork. The same temple that Scott and I got sealed in 6 years ago, which was also the only time I've even been to this temple. I was so excited to be there for Natasha and Josh, but I felt really bad because I was an emotional wreck! Being there made me miss Scott so much and I know the people around me thought I was crazy or something cause I'd start crying (ok, mini-bawling, I was trying reallllllly hard to not make any noise!) every 10-15 mins! Even though I was totally worrying about and missing Scott, the opportunity to be there in the temple was exactly what my soul needed and I was so excited to be there for Natasha and Josh. The next day, when they were sealed, was even better! I think the whole room was proud of themselves for not breaking down during their sealing ceremony, but the second they brought in their 1 year old son to be sealed to his mom and dad, you could hear all the women start sniffling and reaching for the tissues! It was such a special moment! I'm so happy and excited for Natasha and Josh! Way to go you guys!

You can kinda see my baby bump...

When Scott left on deployment I really didn't give much thought to my birthday this year. I turned the big 3-0 last year, so it's not like this year was going to be anything special. I've always been excited for my birthday (I'm one of those people who believe your birthday is a week long celebration!), but didn't want to get all excited and have it be totally anti-climatic and get depressed about it (which I'm totally guilty for on past birthdays...). This year, even without Scott, I was pleasantly surprised on what a good birthday I had. The kids and I had a wonderful morning going to a museum and then to the Creamery for lunch (YUM!) on the BYU campus, I got to go to my friend's sealing, my Aunt & Uncle toke us all out for dinner at Red Robin's (I LOVE their steak fries- one of my big preggo cravings!), and I got to talk to my WONDERFUL husband for a full 30 minutes! I love him so much!! Thanks baby for calling me!

The next day we left to come back home and the kids were so sad to leave! They had a blast hanging out with cousins and playing with all the fun toys my Aunt Judy had in her basement! Brennen is still asking to go back and play! Thanks Aunt Judy and Uncle Vern for letting us stay with you and especially, thank you Aunt Judy for watching my kids so I could attend the temple! We had such a great time. I can't wait till we can go back and visit!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

News from Scott!!

Great News!! I got a call from Scott today! I was so excited to see the number on my caller ID cause I knew right away it was Scott. It took about three tries before the call actually went through, but third times a charm and we were able to talk for about ten minutes. :) Happy Day!!!

He's doing good, which is the best news I can report! Such a relief!! He was able to tell me a few things and some other things that I won't post for security reasons. He was under fire for the first few days of the operation that started last week, but since then things have been really quiet and calm for him and his guys.
No, he still has not showered (last time being on June 30th- make sure you thank God for running water and showers!!) but said he was looking forward to rinsing off with a couple of bottles of water after getting off the phone with me. He said it was extremely hot and some of his guys have suffered from heat issues, but all-in-all they're all doing well and his guys are getting the water they need. He was excited to tell me about the IED they found and their disposal of it. And also about how his CO was called away for something which left him in charge for awhile. During that time Scott (and his guys) had to detain an Afghani man and later, after being able to talk to the village elders, he was able to release the man. He said it's a cool experience to communicate with the village elders (and the people in the area), and that he's learning tons everyday. He said it's really weird because they never see any women ever. Whenever the Marines are around the women won't come out of their homes. Scott also said they found a AK-47, he seemed pretty excited about that, too, but I'm not really sure why (other then it's a cool weapon).
I wish I had had more time to talk to him and I wish I could have found out more (stupid security!! ;) ) but I'm sooo grateful I was able to hear Scott's voice. It's amazing what a simple thing can do to your spirits! After saying 'I love you' and 'I miss you' over a hundred times between the two of us during that 10 minutes, he did mention that he should be able to call once every couple of weeks to let me know how he's doing. HUGE blessing!! Oh, I should explain, the reason he's able to call is because his company has a satellite phone, so all the guys in his company should be able to make a 5-10 min morale call home every couple of weeks which is seriously the best thing ever! When Scott had last called me (June 30th I think) we pretty much thought he wouldn't have use of a phone till November, so anything we get now is just icing on the cake. :)

Welp, I found this video online and thought I'd share it with you. It seems to give a really good idea of life for the Marines in Helmand Province right now (minus all the actual fighting). It's a little boring, but still interesting to see. Enjoy.
P.S. Scott is currently sporting a mustache and there's a 3 second bit in this video (somehow I managed to still frame it below!!) that I swear looks like Scott, but it's hard for me to say cause I really have no idea what Scott looks like with a mustache!! Although, it most likely is not him, dang. ;)
~OK, so after staring at this photo for hours, it's totally Scott. Even with the mustache there are two things that seal the deal with this photo- his nose (it's a Stewart nose!) and his dimples. I love his dimples, and even though he's biting his lip, I know that dimple. I didn't want to get my hopes up the first few times I looked at this, but the more I look at it the more I see Scott. It's totally him.

Watch CBS Videos Online

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Fallen Hero

We all know war is not to be taken lightly and sadly our country has lost many military servicemen and women while in combat. It is a huge worry for me, and always has been (especially now that Scott is there in the thick of it), but no matter what Marine (or any militray member) is killed it's a loss for our whole Marine (military) family. When I first heard we had lost a Marine only after a day into Operation Khanjar, I cried and prayed for that Marine and his family, not knowing who he was or with what unit he belonged. Whenever you heard of a death you automatically worry if it's your loved one or if it's someone you know. As a Family Readiness Assistant, I help "take care" of all the spouses and families here at home and I'm constantly praying that I never have to help one of my families go through this. It still hurts my heart knowing we have lost Marines and allied troops during this operation that are fighting alongside Scott. I came across this information about the Marine that was killed and felt I should share so we can remember him and his family in our prayers. I know society is more concerned about Michael Jackson's death, but there are others out there that deserve more of our respect and attention for what they have sacrificed.

2/8 Marine dies in Afghanistan
Staff report Marine Corps Times

Posted : Monday Jul 6, 2009 12:45:25 EDT

A North Carolina-based Marine was killed July 2 while serving in Afghanistan, his family has said.
Lance Cpl. Seth Sharp, 20, of Adairsville, Ga., died just six weeks after arriving in theater, his uncle, Shane Rogers, told the Rome News-Tribune. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines, from Camp Lejeune.
Sharp was killed during Operation Khanjar, a massive operation launched last week to banish Taliban fighters from villages and towns in Helmand province. His remains arrived at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on July 4.
Sharp played football at Adairsville High School but left early to join the Corps, his uncle said.
No other information was immediately available.

I wanted to share this link to a blog that I found that has AMAZING coverage of all news world-wide. I have found more information about the war in Afghanistan on this site then anywhere else. If anyone else is interested in learning more about the world around them (and not just Afghanistan) or wants to have everything about Afghanistan right in the same place, check this site out.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Baby #3

Here's a sonogram of our newest baby at 10 weeks. I can already tell it's going to be as cute as it's siblings! ;)

Scott on the move

A month has gone by since Scott left and I'm finally getting out of my "Depression/auto-pilot" phase, meaning I better get on here and share what's going on. If any of you have been watching the news you might have heard that the Marines are on the move in the Helmand Province in Afghanistan. Scott is one of those Marines. I got my last phone call from him last night. We've been really blessed while he's been at Camp Leatherneck that he had the occasional opportunity to call home over the past couple of weeks. For the past couple of days Scott has been warning me that things were happening and he'd only be calling one or two more times. Thankfully I have a husband who loves me so much that he made the 30 min walk to the nearest phone to call me 4 times in his last 4 days at Camp Leatherneck.

I thought I'd share this link to the 1/5 Family Newsletter. It's from Scott's CO of the Battalion and it has a bunch of pictures showing the process of getting the Marines to Afghanistan and what life is like for him and the Marines. It was a little difficult for all the Marines because this camp had a massive influx of over 5,000 Marines in the space of two months and they've had to set up random tents everywhere to accommodate all of the Marines, Soldiers, Brits, Docs, etc. Now that a majority of the Marines are leaving (or have already left, like Scott) it's getting back to "normal". Unfortunately, for Scott and the Marines who've left, they no longer have basic luxuries like showers and a chow hall. Scott was excited that he was eating three FULL meals a day (and ice cream every night!) and now I'm worried how much weight he's going to drop since he's only getting one or two MRE's to eat a day. And yes, he will no longer get to shower. So if you would like to send baby wipes in your care packages, that would be great.

Otherwise, he's doing well. He's really excited to do his job and put to use 11 years of training. From what Scott tells me we'll be hearing a lot on the news about his Marines and that they're going to be doing some "serious damage" trying to get to the Taliban. So, if you're watching the news and hear anything about the Helmand Province, just pray that Scott and his Marines are ok. I'll try and keep everyone posted on how he's doing and what's going on with him. Thank you also for all your kind thoughts and prayers. We're so blessed to have good friends and family who are so willing to help us out while Scott's deployed. It really means a lot and is so greatly appreciated. Seriously, more than words can say.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Off to Afghanistan

Ok, I've been sitting here trying to figure out how to write this and honestly, just thinking about makes my eyes water up and gets my brain all disarrayed. Scott left for his 7+ month deployment on Friday and it sucks. Scott got up around 1am that morning to finish packing and Brennen somehow woke up, too. The saddest part, when Scott asked B what he was doing up and B said, "I want to spend time wif you, Daddy". How do you tell your kid to go back to bed after that? So B stayed up and helped Scott till we had to drive him up to San Mateo on Camp Pendleton. He had to be there at 6am and thankfully he kept finding excuses for us to hang around a little longer. We stayed till about 7:15 and finally got around to saying our good-byes. Which is good, because if I had stayed around to wait for them to load the buses at 11am I would've been a total mess. Scott had called me right when they started loading the buses and made a comment about how the waterworks were starting and I replied, "They started when everyone woke up this morning." Then he said, "Well, I guess this is the grand finale." Glad I wasn't there for that.

I know the family has been waiting for me to post Scott's address, and if anyone else wants to send letters or care packages (let me know if you want to send packages cause there's some guidelines and other things to know before mailing things) please feel free to!

Lt. Stewart S.A.
1/5 A Co
Unit 40325
FPO AP 96427-0325
Can you tell how much I had been crying?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Mini Va-K

Ahhh! Our trip to Virginia was everything we had hoped it would be and more! Not only did the kids and I have a great time while we were out there, but we got to spend soooo much time with Scott! Seriously, every little penny spent on airfare (yes, I came to my senses and decided not to drive) was TOTALLY worth it! It was amazing that Scott was done with classes by 4pm at the latest (most days even earlier!!) every day! I was shocked. I didn't know what to do with myself. It was crazy to see Scott while the sun was still up on a weekday! In fact, every night felt like a Saturday night. We went out to dinner, went to Target (hehe), or other fun places, and just thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Funny and true story: we went out one night and on our way home I commented to Scott about how the week had flown by and that when we got back to the hotel I needed to find out what time church was in the morning. Scott gave me a funny look and said, "Chris, it's only Tuesday!". See how unused I am to spending time with him during the week?!?

The kids had a blast while we were there. Every morning while Scott was in class I would take the kids somewhere fun. We went to museums, to parks, to the beach, went bowling, and to several malls! Scott's joke was that I was on a full shopping tour and I was having more fun spending his money then anything else. I spent a little and might have spent more if I had more luggage space! ;) I took tons of pics so here's a few of the fun ones:

So, some additional good news (my favorite thing to do: brag about my awesome husband). The course Scott attended was great. Scott learned a lot and loved everything he did. It's even made him more excited about his deployment to Afghanistan and all the "fun" things he's going to be able to do while there. So, when his class first started the instructors warned Scott and the 3 other guys (who are infantry and not pilots, which are who made up the rest of the class) that they would have a harder time with the class and should be really happy if they passed with an 80%. The pilots would obviously have the advantage because the have been working with planes for years and have a better understanding of the fundamentals, etc. Not only did Scott beat that 80%, he made Honor Grad! (Graduated #1!) Yes, he out-scored and out-preformed all the rest of the pilots. Amazing! The reason I'm really amazed: I was with him for a little over two weeks of his class and saw how much (little) he studied and that none of the other guys in his course had the HUGE distraction of having their wives or kids around! I mean seriously, how does Scott do it? This course is the 6th (out of the 7 since we've been married) that he's got Honor Grad. Way to go, Scott!!

And, there's more good news. I know I might have shared a little TMI with everyone about how clomid works in my last post, hehe, but it does. It really works and it only works one way and that one way worked and we're having baby number 3. Yay! So, we brought home a little souvenir from our trip to Virginia. Don't have an official due date yet, but it should be arriving the middle of January. And since both of my kids have come two weeks early, it might even arrive on Brennen's birthday!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

More Mania!!

OH MY WORD!! Our family is getting dealt some more crazy twists and turns!! (thankfully nothing life threatening or critical, just crazy) ;)

So, most of you know (especially if you read my earlier pathetic post) that Scott has been gone for the past 5 weeks. Well, Scott called me last Thursday night (the day before he came home) to give me Good News and News.

The Good News- he's not going with the Advanced Deployment Group. Meaning he's not leaving May 1st, but more towards the end of the month (20th-28th). Yay! I get a whole extra month with him!!
Hahaha, at least that's what I thought until he gave me the News (notice there's no Good or Bad if front of it??). Scott has been blessed with the opportunity to go to this awesome school called JTAC (Joint Terminal Attack Controller). He's super excited about this course because he gets to coordinate (and call the shots) dropping bombs from flying things (fixed wing and roto wing) to bad guys on the ground. Plus a bunch of other cool reasons that are a little more complicated to explain on here. The reason it's not Good News, the school is 4 weeks long, and on the other side of the country in Virginia Beach, VA.

I mean, seriously, am I going to see my husband at all this year???

So, Scott is here all this week (still working crazy hours) and then leaves on Easter (gone 4/12-5/9). Now, the other part to this story that has been in the works for the past couple of months: we're trying for #3. (Yep, crazy Marine couple is trying to have a third child when the husband is never home and he's deploying for 6-12 months.) Annoyingly, I've got some medical things that are totally working against us in this department so I just went into the Doc's on Monday and we are (read: I am) starting the wonderful process of Clomid. Yes, fertility drugs. But, they only work if I have sex. With my husband. Hard to believe, I know. So, what are we to do?

Uproot the whole family for a month and follow Scott to Virginia.

So while I'm typing this, I'm also stressing out about how to get myself and chitlins across country. To drive or to fly, that is the question. Yeah, I know a bunch of you saw the drive part and thought "WHAT is she thinking?!?", but since we're planning on being there for almost three weeks, and the kids require so much extra gear (i.e., two car seats, pack-n-play, stroller, clothes, etc), it's seriously cheaper to drive then to fly. And for those who really know me know I love road trips! I really do love driving all over the USA, but I'm not exactly thrilled about the thought of being by myself with 2 little ones. Is it doable, totally. Am I crazy, probably. Still undecided, so jury is out.

I really just want to be with my husband. I want to spend as much time as possible with him before he leaves for who knows how long. I also want the kids to spend as much time with him, too. They miss him and don't understand why Daddy isn't around to tuck them in at night. And, poor Scott hates that he's missing so much of their lives. So, we're going to try and do whatever we can to be together as much as possible. Even if it means only seeing him at night and on the weekends in Virginia rather then not seeing him at all in California. Oh-rah.