Happy Anniversary & Thanksgiving Wrap Up!

November is truly a special month for me! Today we celebrated Thanksgiving one day late, and our wedding anniversary. Here's how we rocked it out:

Our Turkey Day


I’ll have to keep this short to make sure I don’t burn the food!  Today will be my first solo cooking experience on Thanksgiving and as nervous as I am, I am so excited to have my family and friends to share it with. We will be having fried turkey with all the fixings. I’m taking a semi-homemade approach until I feel comfortable doing everything from scratch.  As we enter into the season of retrospection, I can’t help but tear up at the thought of all the blessings I have to account for. God has been so extremely generous to our family this past year and even with thanks and praise we are undeserving.  I hope your Thanksgiving is filled with family, friends, football, and food. If not all of the above, and least one or two. :)  Warmest Blessings! Gobble 'til ya wobble! 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Shannon leading some of the Marines during the "Home Hospitality" event.

Our Turkey Day will be postponed until tomorrow, but I wish you all the best to you and yours. Shannon volunteered to take duty today for his Marines and it turned out to be very rewarding. Through an AYMCA program called "Home Hospitality," he got to see hundreds of single Marines off to foster families for the holiday. The Marines were treated to limos, party buses, and even luxury car rides to have Thanksgiving dinner with a host family. Although I didn’t get to be with my own Marine today, I am so thankful for all the families who adopted a Marine to celebrate this time of thanks. Hope in America restored! :) 

Again, I hope you have wonderful Thanksgiving and please say a prayer for all the uniformed service-members who sacrifice time away from their families so that you can spend time with yours. 

Two Birthdays

Last weekend we celebrated my 25th birthday and the Marine Corps' 238th Birthday!
Our annual 'official' photo 
I am so fortunate to be able to share my birthday with the Marine Corps; it gives me the opportunity to feel fabulous. (Although this year it was a little hard to get into the glamour with a 7 month protruding pregnant belly). Every year my husband takes me to the Marine Corps Ball and there we celebrate the birth of America's greatest fighting force. All the Marines are dressed handsomely in their dress blues uniform and they are usually accompanied by their beautiful wives, girlfriends, and significant others in formal elegant ball gowns. It's the Oscars of the military, and its amazing!

This year the ball was in Las Vegas at the Paris Hotel & Casino, and when Shannon told me this, I was upset. Not just because I am 7months pregnant, but because I've never been a "Vegas-type" girl, (if there is such a thing), or at least I thought I was not the Vegas-type. From my understanding, Las Vegas was about indecencies, greed, and vulgar sex, all things which aren't high on my to-do/ bucket list.
However, Shannon assured me my birthday was not ruined, because we could "do Vegas tastefully."
Trusting him I prepared for our trip. Shannon had set up a wonderful weekend with fancy dinners and amazing seats at the 'O' show in the Bellagio. Once I heard this, I was excited and couldn't wait to get to Vegas! We dropped Jo off with my grandmother and Mom in Murrieta for the weekend. I was so nervous to leave Jo (we've never left him overnight with anyone), but now looking back it was harder on me than on him- he had a great time! After sneaking away from him, we sped off to the desert to ring in my quarter-century birthday and the Marine Corps' 238th. 

Bliss in all its grandeur
To my surprise, I had one of the best times of my life! I ate everything- that was my indulgence, not money or sex, but food! I have don't have a sweet tooth, I have a sweet mouth, head, and heart, so seeing the amazing restaurants- especially desserts- I was in heaven. Yes, I still saw the trashy, immoral side of Vegas but my husband delivered exactly what he said he would- a glamorous, tasteful, memorable birthday weekend. A part of me didn't want to leave, but I was excited to get back to our son, who I thought, by then wouldn't remember who we were. My mom insisted we stay another night and enjoy ourselves, but I as kid-sick and wanted to spend sometime with our son for my birthday too. Looking back my perspective on Vegas has changed and although I'm weary of it, I know there are things to like. I am so grateful and blessed for last weekend and I will never forget it.

I'm Back & Where I've Been

It's been six months since my last post. I decided to take a short break, not knowing that break would turn into a complete withdrawal from blogging completely. At the time, I felt a lot of my time could be better spent with my kids, my husband, friends and family, rather than trying to design, update and keep tabs on this blog. But lately I've had an urgency to write and share our stories with you. In the past six months God has done amazing things in our life, and being able to share it with you is not a chore, but a blessing. I intended this blog to be about our family and so it will continue. My posts may not be as frequent because what the Lord has brought before us will require more of my attention, so I appreciate your understanding. Thanks for coming back to visit and I hope you enjoy watching our family grow in Christ, each other, and life. Here's what's been going on in our neck of the woods...

JUNE: We found out we are having another little Shantine baby! Our due date was calculated to be January 27, 2014. This will give us an 18month spread between JoJo and Baby #3. Having two kids under 2 will be quite the challenge, but with Him, it will be possible. 

JULY: The Summer seemed to start and come so quickly! We spent 3 weeks in Shannon's home town of Chicago and we celebrated Jojo's 1st Birthday Bash there. My mom and sister were able to fly in for the party, while Shannon's parent's hosted. It was a hot and humid but perfect for swimming. We loved seeing our family and knowing that it will be hard for us to travel with 3 kids, we made the most of our trip seeing and relatives at the party. 

AUGUST: Tatum had her first day of school! Well, her second first day of school. She started Kindergarten and was so excited! She kept asking me if I notice how big she was. As she grows she becomes more independent and sassy. Since school started she has spend most her weekdays at her dad's house, and weekends with us, but she is just growing like a weed! As a mom I want to teach my kids everything, but it is them who have taught me some of life's greatest lessons. I wish I could stop time to really relish these moments of innocence in my children, but watching them blossom, learn, and grow is an immeasurable privilege. 

SEPTEMBER: We found out the sex of Baby#3! As most men do, Shannon was rooting for another boy, but God had different plans for us and so in January he will welcome a baby girl of his own. I have a feeling Shannon will be cleaning his guns a lot more meticulously and frequent as she gets older. I, on the other hand, will be busy making bows and buying all things pink! 

OCTOBER: At the height of Shannon's on-cycle training (13 hour work days), our October was fairly quiet. We started some nesting with buying a new crib, but we really just laid low as the reality of having 3 children sank in. When we found out we were expecting another baby, we were excited, but once we found she was going to be a girl, I feel like the actuality of it really started to present itself. We only had Jojo for Halloween and Shannon was able to come home for trick-or-treating, so we decided to take him to a friend's neighborhood to get some loot. He was a lion this year and surprisingly did very well in the snowsuit of a costume. Jo really enjoyed seeing the kids running around in the costumes, and although he didn't understand what was going on, he did enjoy his first piece of candy.   

NOVEMBER: That brings us almost up to date! As you can see we've had an eventful past 6 months, but man was it fun! God is oh so good and this is proof. How appropriate is it that, during the most popular time of year for retrospection, I decide to come back to blog? Perhaps the urgency to come back and blog was not for blogging itself, but the Lord's way of saying, you need to take a deep breath and just look at all you have to be thankful for. All praise to Him! As our family approaches the holiday season, I can say that I will have plenty to be thankful for, not only for the past 6 months, but for so much more.