Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The REST of the Story...

Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV

 Before we got engaged, we knew that P was up for new military orders.  This meant that he could either get out of the Navy or we could move after his next deployment.  It wasn't a difficult decision for him to stay in, the difficult decision was where to move. 

Within hours of looking at our list of options, we had pretty much made up our mind.  We were ready for adventure and we wanted the challenge...

We were moving to NAPLES, ITALY!

Visiting P in Japan
Before we got to Italy, though, we had to handle yet another deployment.  So, five weeks after being married, I watched as P's plane took him away from me...again.  It seemed like it was never ending.  Were we EVER going to be together???

Upon his return, we had so much to look forward to!  Finally, we would get to 'be married', we were moving to Italy, and we were going to travel!  As excited as we were about our adventure, our excitement turned to great fear when we found out that I was pregnant just two weeks after his return.  Now, THAT was not in the plan.

We wanted kids.  We actually wanted a large family.  We had just planned to wait about a year before moving on to kids.  Immediately, all of my excitement about moving was GONE.  All I could think about was having a baby without any family and friends.  I didn't want to leave them.  I cried and cried but eventually, after getting reassurance from my mom that she would be there, I finally went back to looking forward to the experiences that were to come.

Little did we know that this was the first of many growing pains.  God wanted us to realize our potential and we had just given Him PRIME opportunity to do that.

We moved to Naples in December of 2007.  On April 7, 2008, P and I became parents.  My mom lived up to her word...she was there.  Once my mom left, just 5 days after Little P's birth, it was time to buckle down.  This wasn't a dream, this wasn't going to change, we could either take advantage of the opportunity to live overseas or it would be a waste of our time.

It didn't take long for us to realize that we were learning priceless lessons.  Being so far from family and friends, we could only depend on each other.  We didn't have parents to save us when we were tired or we could run to when we weren't seeing eye to eye.  We had to figure it out between the two of us.  We had to learn how to effectively communicate, how to address our own shortcomings for the greater good of our marriage, and how to push ourselves beyond our comfort levels.  We were also given the opportunity to really figure out what we wanted for OUR family.  We couldn't come back to the States for Holidays so they were what we made them.  It really made us get down to business and see what traditions were really important to us and how we could put them together for our family. 

Moreover, we were given the opportunity to really figure out the simplest way to run our day to day life as parents.  We were not going to stop traveling or exploring, we just needed to figure out how to do with with babies. 
About to get on the airplane to visit family in the States
Oh yes, I forgot to mention, after having my wisdom teeth out when Little P was six months old, I got pregnant with Little C.  A word to the wise, narcotics really mess with your cycle (and if you are on birth control, they mess with that too).  So, now we had two kids...both 15 months and under.

As a wife and mother, I was pushed harder than I ever had been.  P was working 14 hour days and had a rotating shift.  This left me to handle everything and I am so thankful it did.  In those three years I realized how capable I am.  A family of four traveling back to the states for 3 weeks...NO PROBLEM!  Your bringing the new guys home for dinner in two hours...I've got it!  We want to go to Greece...I'll plan it!  The more I embraced my vocation as a wife and mother, the more grateful I was for my husband.  Because he was working so hard, we were getting to do all of these things but he was also giving me the opportunity to prove to myself that I could handle it.  I was capable. 

By the end of our time in Italy, we were honestly able to say that we were given the opportunity of a lifetime.  It taught us how to be a team, how to 'date', and how capable we are.  It pinpointed those places where, instead of helping each other, we were enabling each other.  It showed us where we needed to toughen up and where we needed to lighten up.  It didn't allow us to wallow in fear...we had to face it.
Greece February 2010
In three short years of marriage, we walked away with 15 years worth of lessons and three beautiful children (oh, did I forget to mention that I was pregnant AGAIN when we moved back to the States?  Can you say fertile mertile???  Yup, that's me!  And I wouldn't have it any other way.)

Upon arrival back in the States, P got out of the Navy and we began our lives here in Central Virginia...as civilians...who deploy...so maybe not REALLY civilians but you get it. 

It is because of our time in Italy that we are where we are.  It was a priceless experience that I recommend to ANYBODY who has the opportunity!  Push yourself.  Go out of your comfort zone.  Scare yourself.  It will worth it beyond measure in the end.

And that, my friends, is our story.

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