November 14, 2013

Thankful For Our Heroes

 Living on a military base has its challenges. It takes some getting used to living in such a tight knit community; made even closer by the shared bond that we are all Americans in a foreign country.  I don't love that my water or power gets sporadically shut off for full days (once the water was shut off for 3 full days. That was fun, especially with Japanese enclosed tank toilets) because the plumbing, like everything on this base, is somewhat archaic. I don't love the foul mouthed young soldiers that don't see why their language is unsuitable for the neighborhood park. The list can go on and on. But there is so much that I do love. That tight knit community? They know my name and my kid's names and say hello when we pass. The neighbor I share a driveway with will help me bring in my groceries if she sees me pull up. While my house may be a concrete box, that sporadic water and power are free; something I need to remember when it is so expensive off base. And those foul mouthed young soldiers, oh how the mother in me wants to scold them! But then I remember that these are the same young soldiers that volunteer their time to help out at my children's school functions because so many of the parents are deployed and unable to volunteer, and I find it easier to forgive. 
What I love most however, is being surrounded by so many military members. I truly believe that those that serve in the military and their families are some of the kindest, open hearted, tough as nails people  you will ever meet. While Jake has only deployed once thus far, I have had a great many friends deploy and I know and understand the sacrifices that are being made for this country. Living on a base has made holidays like Veteran's Day much more meaningful. Brynn's teachers had each child color camo on a figure that represented the corps that Mom or Dad serves in. See if you can spot Jake. I'll give you a hint, he's the only Navy member in her class! 
 Overseas bases take a lot of pride in military holidays and it is truly a humbling experience. I'm thankful for the heroes that served and continue to serve our country; whether it be the ultimate sacrifice of a life, or the smallest services like directing traffic at my children's school. I'm thankful for Jake (he's in the blue camo, if you haven't guessed!), who has served his time in the hospital, treating anyone from returning soldiers to retired Vets and family members. Thankful for our heroes doesn't seem adequate enough; but that is how I thankful.  

November 15, 2011

Halloween and Sea World 001 Layla is not a cold weather dog. Here she is bundled up in our coziest blanket in front of the fire. I don’t know what she would do if we were stationed somewhere with a true winter!

November 8, 2011

Del Mar Dog Beach

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We love to head to Del Mar Dog beach when Fiona (my parent’s dog) is visiting. The dogs love to run with the other dogs. Layla thinks she’s much bigger and ferocious than she is and tries to take on the big, playful labs. Fiona loves to jump in the water, Layla stays just on the waters edge. They both love to chase the frisbee, though Fiona doesn’t like to give it up!

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It was a gorgeous fall day (gotta love San Diego weather!) I’m 7 months pregnant here and feeling pretty good!

October 31, 2011

Halloween 2011

Halloween was a ton of fun this year, the kids are getting more excited about it as they get older. They were loving that the festivities were spread out of a few days, so they could enjoy all the Halloween fun (ehem..candy..) for days. Our Schultz cousins joined us for our ward Trunk or Treat the Saturday before Halloween. Check out how cute everyone looked! Dane was Luke, Lexi was Leia, Eli was Harry Potter, Lily was a 20's flapper, Van was her fancy man (love that one!) and Brynn was Sleeping Beauty.

That weekend we carved our pumpkins to be ready for Halloween night. I know it seems a little late, but our pumpkins always turn to mush if we carve them too early! Brynn didn't mind the pumpkin "guts" at all, in fact she had some fun getting messy.

Eli, on the other hand, didn't enjoy it. He obliged me with a spoon for a little bit but then convinced Brynn to clean his out.

Here's our cute little porch ready for trick or treaters. My pumpkin was the monogram 'C' and Jake's was Harry Potter.

Our cuties excited to get out there and load their pails with candy

Eli wanted a classic jack-o-lantern look and Brynn picked a Little Mermaid pattern.The little girl lives for dress up days!

Just back from trick or treating: the kids could hardly hold still for a picture...they were ready to investigate the goods.

The beset Luke and Leia out there! I think Andrea did such a good job on their costumes.

Brynn guarding her candy when it was time to put it on top of the fridge (yep, I'm that Mom....I'm even the Mom that donates half to the YW bin at church! But it was more for my sake then theirs. By the time Halloween came around I had had my fair share of Twixes.)

Halloween is always so much fun! Even funner when we can share it with cousins.

October 28, 2011

Eli's Class Halloween Party

We love being a part of the Shoal Creek Peppers! They always have the best class parties and Halloween was no exception. They always include siblings, which Brynn loves.

Eli dressed up as his latest idol; Harry Potter and Brynn dressed up as a running favorite; Sleeping Beauty.
It's always so fun to see Eli in his classroom interacting with his classmates. He loves his teacher, Mrs. Norris, who is absolutely fantastic.

Jake had just gotten off the night shift in the ER and was able to join us for the party. He's such a good Daddy, he always makes an effort to come to Eli's events and Eli adores him for it.

Our little Harry was exhausted after his fun morning. This is how I found him later that afternoon:

October 11, 2011

Daddy’s Girl

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Brynn is such a Daddy’s girl. She loves to curl up into his side when they’re relaxing together. Lately she really likes him to play with her hair and when he stops she says, “Daddy! Keep playing with my hair!” And he smiles and does. I wish that worked with me!

October 2, 2011


I was cooking dinner on September 27th when Jake came into the kitchen and said he had something to tell me. I was already surprised because he was home early (that doesn't happen often in residency..). He had the same worried look he had the first time he told me he was deploying, but I knew it couldn't be that. I jokingly asked if he was in trouble at work and he smiled and replied, "no, but I have to have surgery tomorrow. I have testicular cancer." I think I stopped breathing for a minute as I tried to process what he was telling me. He had suspected something was wrong; that he had a tumor; and set up an appointment to have an ultrasound on the 27th. During the ultrasound they found a very large, concerning tumor and wanted to preform immediate surgery. They were suspecting a malignant tumor. His tumor markers were immediately tested and two came back as normal, the third would take awhile. Everything happened very quickly. I was obviously very worried but our family and friends were wonderful. Jake's parents quickly drove down to help us with the kids and to sit with me at the hospital. Our Bishopric and home teachers came over that night to give Jake a blessing of health and me a blessing of peace. Jake was doing a good job of putting on a happy face, I think mostly to keep me calm. I did have a sense of calm, but I was obviously very worried about my husband. Early the next morning we headed to the Naval Medical Center for surgery to remove the tumor. We were told we would have path results in a week and would proceed from there.

Jake had a few drugged days after recovery but healed surprisingly quickly. He was very upbeat and...well, just Jake. He's a very optimistic, logical person. So while I was hiding away to cry in the closet when the fear of the unknown would overcome me, he was smiling and enjoying our company. We played lots of Settlers with his Mom and Bremen and Andrea. They took very good care of him! Lots of treats, yummy dinners, magazines to read, prayers and good company.
In fact, we were overwhelmed by everyones generosity. Word spread among our ward and we had meals set up for weeks. Friends from all over sent us well wishes and treats. Whoever said that food is healing is RIGHT! I didn't get to snap pictures of everything that was sent and given to us, but above you can see a dozen delicious cupcakes from DC Cupcakes from our dear friends Nick and Amanda. We gave the kids a taste here and there but froze most of them so we could treat ourselves whenever we wanted! Our friends Jason and Amber were in town visiting and stopped by with a decadent chocolate cake (Jake's favorite, they know him well!). My parents came down for a few days and stocked our fridge and freezer.

Meanwhile, we were told the path results were sent off to UCLA, so we wouldn't have results for another week. After a week Jake was back and work and things seemed relatively normal, except for the awful feeling that we had no idea if Jake had malignant or benign cancer. We kept waiting, and waiting and calling and pestering. Finally, 6 weeks after surgery we received the results. And it was worth the wait: Jake had a mixed germ cell tumor with evidence of sertoli, leydig and granulosa cells. It was well differentiated and likely benign. The tumor was very rare, so rare in fact, that many of the pathologists had never seen this type of cancer before, which is why it took so long to get back to us. This is pretty good news. While they don't know much about this cancer, it appears to be benign and Jake feels great. He'll have to go in for scans and tumor markers every 6 months to make sure it doesn't come back but he knows the warning signs and will be careful. We feel tremendously blessed through this trial. We truly felt the effects and peace from everyones love, support and prayers. I'm so thankful to have a healthy husband. Trials like this make you truly realize how precious life is and to live to your fullest. I love Jake so much and am so grateful for this outcome. We have a few friends that are facing cancer in a much bigger, scarier way than we did and I continue to pray for them. Know that any act of kindness to those in need is felt and appreciated. Thanks to everyone for thinking of us, we love you!