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Visiting Family in Central California

9 Dec

So here I am, writing from my broken laptop in California, watching reruns of Chopped and trying to love on all the cats like there’s no tomorrow. It feels just like every day I spent in my second trimester of pregnancy waiting for Jonathan to get out of boot camp. Not kidding. I spent the whole time trying to tune out the TV and gather my thoughts, and failing miserably, and as a result  just churning out rambling blog posts and run on sentences and trying to remember why I’m staring at a text box and… anyway. Allow me to share my visit to California thus far via Instagram! Cuz it’s really not gonna happen any other way. (And forgive me for the rambling. We’re watching Kid Snippets on YouTube now.)

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Tessa and I spent the morning yesterday lazing around the apartment with Jonathan, not getting packed till the very last minute. We barely made it to the airport in time, because what kind of adventure starts with timeliness and promptness and all that boringness? Not baby Tessa’s first adventure, that’s for sure!

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Tessa was completely enthralled by all of the people in the airport. If I suspected before that she is a freakishly, abnormally awesomely chill baby, I know it for a FACT after yesterdays travels. With 8+ hours of travels, Tessa did not cry ONCE! She flirted with everyone, got a trillion compliments on her pixie hat, and had every passenger on the planes going on and on about how cute and calm and wonderful she was. She was giggling and chattering and watching the world when she was awake (which gave me great company when I’d finished reading through the two books I’d brought) and she was sleeping snugly and soundly in her ring sling when she was conked out. It was the easiest thing on the planet! Tessa kept watching the passing clouds out the window, completely entranced. She gets so focused and calm when she’s encountering something new. She’s already such a smart baby. Have I mentioned how much I just love her!?!?

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My flight was about 40 minutes behind schedule. Which meant I left my dear friends (whom I’d never before met in person, haha) waiting at In and Out Burger for awhile. I first “met” Josh and Kristen when I was looking for breast milk donations for baby Tessa awhile back. Kristen provided Tessa’s early colostrum heavy milk and has become one of my favorite people. We like to tease each other about how we’re mutual blog / Facebook / Instagram stalkers. I am so blessed to know this lovely couple and Tessa is blessed not just with amazing nutrition, but with an amazing Auntie and Uncle in Southern California! I was so dang excited to meet these guys!! We spent so much time visiting we didn’t hit the road for Hanford till.. what? 8ish? I think?? (I stole some of these Instagram images off of Kristen’s page.. cuz I’m baaaad like that.)

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So when we finally hit the road, my mom was all like, “Waaah wah waaah, I have to pee!” So we started to pull over at the nearest exit (Lyons Ave in Valencia) and then we realized, hey! Dennis from Billy Hill and the Hillbillies at Disneyland usually plays with his bluegrass band The Grateful Dudes on Saturday nights at a pizzeria right off of Lyons, let’s see if they’re still playing! And lo and behold they were! We stuck around for an hour or so to listen to the band and catch up on old times, then when we hit the road for the Central Valley it was well past 10pm. See? Timeliness = BORING.

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After much coffee and soda and other unhealthy caffeine laden beverages, we finally made it home past 1am. Lots of visiting and settling in ensued and finally, around 3:30am, we headed to bed. Look at Tessa, all snug as a bug in her borrowed bassinet!

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This morning we headed to Marshalls so I could buy the Christmas gifts for family that I didn’t have room to pack in my bags. Jessica had fun trying out the ring sling with Tessa. Check out their matching penguin hats:

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My brother Jeremy and his lovely wife Angie visited from the coast to meet baby Tessa for the first time. Tessa LOVED them. It just kind of dawned on me today… she’s going to have an auntie and uncle that are going to spoil her rotten.

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We headed over to Grandma Ree and Steve’s house in Lemoore for a kind of impromptu family reunion. Look, here’s my brother, me and my sister as babies!

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Grandma Ree and Steve meeting baby Tessa for the first time!

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THEN! My Aunt Peggy stopped by and Tessa got to meet her Great Aunt. It’s funny to me that Tessa was an angel on the flight -didn’t fuss or cry ONCE – but once we got to visit with family she decided to go all teething infant on me and drool on everyone. She got a tiny bit of a fever today, and kept trying to bite everything (but mostly her overalls). But still, Tessa was being a super cutie, and loving on everyone with her perpetually alternating “oh!” and “wtf?!” faces.

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After the family get together, we all headed back to my old apartment (now my dads super secret lair) and spent some more time loving on Tessa. My mum sniped this shot of all three of us “kids” with the first grandbaby. I can’t wait till Tessa has some cousins to play with!

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Anyway, I’m going to head to bed now. SO. VERY. TIRED. It’s only been a day and a half and we’ve already had some fun little adventures. Sorry for the rambling nature of this post. I’m tired, I’m distracted, and I’m… I can’t even remember what I was going to say. Yeah, that’s my cue for bed time. Goodnight, ya’ll!

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The Freeman Family in the Month of November

2 Dec

The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest. – William Blake

Above is the Freeman family in the month of November! I honestly don’t know where the time has gone. Or what really went on this month. I seriously just asked Jonathan the help me with this post, and he was like, “What happened this month? I don’t remember.” Yeah. Me too. Well. That’s… interesting. It’s been a whirlwind!

Let’s see now, every day Tessa grows more and more expressive. She giggles over silly things, like us making pigeon cooing noises at her, or having her diaper changed, or being dipped into the bathtub. Suddenly we have a BABY. How?!?!??!?!?! Time is moving too quickly! Pretty soon there will be “Tessa is crawling” then “Tessa is walking” then “Tessa is getting married” posts. Oh God. Time. Moving too quickly. *hyperventilates*

This month, the theme was “thankfulness” – for obvious reasons, what with Turkey Day and all. Ever since I became a mother, I’ve noticed that my focus has shifted from tangible, materialistic aspects of God working in my life and has focused on the hidden things that really matter. It’s as if scales have fallen from my eyes, and allowed me to see a world of mercies that I never fathomed before.

I see the world in a whole new way. It’s amazing and joyful and I feel like clicking my heels and singing “I Love the Whole World” with each new task and chore and adventure.

Jonathan is starting his final leg of A School, which is the beginning of the end of our time here in Pensacola. We still don’t know where or when we’ll be stationed outside of Pensacola, but it’s inching ever closer. We’re still taking things a day at a time and it’s surprisingly a lot less stress inducing than I thought it would be. It’s actually rather fun!

We’re putting it all in God’s hands, and we’re wholeheartedly saying, “Your will be done”. I can’t wait to see how life unfolds for us. It’s going to be an adventure, that’s for sure! I’m so excited for Tessa’s first Christmas and I’m eager to greet the New Year. Happy December everyone!^_^

Hiking Along the Gulf Islands National Seashore

17 Nov

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When Jonathan and I had just met, the one event that launched us from “just friends” to “future mother / father of my baby” was a three day, 22 mile backpacking trip along the High Sierra Trail in the Sequoia National Forest in California. We went into those woods all prettied up, looking our best, full of energy and secretly crushing on one another, and came out rugged, dirty, exhausted and madly in love.

I love hiking. And backbacking. And camping. So so so much. So does my handsome husband. It’s one of our many “things” we share, made even more special by our earliest memories forged together – trudging mile after excruciating mile over rocks, rivers and meadows, savoring campfire coffee while laying out under breathtaking starry night skies, talking about God and grace and cosplay and fantasy novels and everything in between. Sparks flew as we chopped firewood, dried out socks, purified alpine spring waters to fill our canteens, tended to blisters and hoisted 80 pound packs in the towering trees so the bears couldn’t reach them. We fell in love with our hiking boots on.

So now that baby Tessa is here with us, and I’m finally feeling up to being active again, I’ve decided to hike on one new hiking trail (or two) every week. I am a sucker for National Parks, and since we’re an easy 30 minute drive from the Gulf Islands National Shoreline, I’m making it a fun challenge to hike as much of the 80 miles of Florida District trails as I can while we’re stationed here in Pensacola.

I so want my little girl growing up feeling at ease and a fondness for nature and the outdoors. I don’t want her to be a stranger to the beauty of God’s creation, from the macro to the micro. And I figure, she’s never too young to start, eh? Wrapped up snug and warm on my chest with our ring sling, my baby girl has seen more of the world than most two month olds! It’s a habit I don’t want to break.

I started this little challenge just four weeks ago, and have had the joy of hiking with my tiny baby girl on the Trench Trail, the Woodland Nature Trail, the Brackenridge Trail and the Fishing Trail. That’s 5.9 miles down! Can I get a w00t w00t?!

These trails are far different from the giant redwood, majestic sequoia, waterfall lined, mountain vista views I’m used to. While part of me longs for the crisp alpine air of the John Muir meadows, I must say I am quickly growing fond of these new sights and smells on my outdoor treks.

The air is humid and salty, with the sound of ocean waves mingling with the sounds of tropic insects and palms fronds swaying in the gentle breezes. Exotic seashell fragments and stark white sands line the trails underfoot. Spanish moss and tropic vines hang from oak and hickory trees overhead, and every once in a while you can catch glimpses of brightly colored lizards and vibrant green tree frogs in the foliage. Everything is so tropic here (it is a stones throw from the Caribbean, after all) that I often find myself exclaiming asinine geeky things like, “That tree with the mushrooms on it looks like something out of Ferngully!” or “The moon over the waters looks like Pirates of the Caribbean!” or, most often, “OMG, this looks just like Jurassic Park. I keep expecting a dilophosaurus to jump out and spit at me!”

This park is chock full of history and mystery – more than 80 percent of the park is submerged lands teeming with marine life. It’s America’s largest National Seashore and one of the oldest “discovered” portions of America.

Europeans first visited the northern Gulf of Mexico in the early 1500s. Spain, in 1559, established a settlement in Florida on Pensacola Bay, but the place was abandoned soon afterward. Spaniards revived the settlement in 1698, surrendered it to the French in 1719, regained it by treaty in 1722, ceded it to the English in 1763, and repossessed it by force in 1781. The park is cluttered with historic forts, buildings, relics, and historic points of interest. I mean, how could it not be?!

The Gulf Islands are vibrant and fascinating in a very energetic way… far from the serenity and absorbing nature of the Sequoias. They’re two different beasts, and each appeals to my sense of adventure. (Though in my heart of hearts, I am a mountain girl through and through.)

I’m excited for the many more miles to hike before the Navy whisks us away to who-knows-where. And I’ll keep posting our adventures here on my blog. But in the meantime, here are some snapshots of the trails we’ve trekked thus far:

The Woodland Nature Trail by Fort Barrancas:

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The Trench Trail by Fort Barrancas:

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The Brackenridge Trail by Naval Live Oaks:

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The Fishing Trail by Naval Live Oaks:

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The Freeman Family in the Month of October

1 Nov

“Miracles do not, in fact, break the laws of nature.” – C. S. Lewis

Above is our month in Instagram! Life sure has gotten fun – and much more photogenic! – with baby girl around! And we’re really in for it now, since she’s started her first social smiles and hiccupping baby giggles…

There was so much to celebrate this month! First, it’s fall. MY FAVORITEST SEASON EVAR! I greeted the month with pumpkin pie spice scented candles and “limited edition” autumn themed Fabreeze, like I always do. And I made the delicious discovery that when I sit cuddled up in a warm sweater with a chai tea latte and a good book, it’s much more pleasant with a baby by my side!

Overall, it has been a very good month. My dad got to visit and meet his first grandbaby at the beginning of the month, my husband was able to start his first leg of A School in the Navy, we were able to get back into cosplay again, and my dear friend Shauna was able to fly out for a short visit!

October also marked our one year wedding anniversary. We were able to visit New Orleans and walk past the spots we stood in our wedding tux and gown, and sit in spots we stood for wedding photos, this time with our precious daughter in our arms. What a difference a year makes. I would not trade a single day that brought us to where we are now.

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I am filled with nothing but joy and anticipation for the coming months. While we still don’t know where we’re going to be stationed come spring, I am truly content with wherever the Lord takes us. I am blessed wherever I am. For the first time, in a long time, I am truly stress free.

Happy Fall Season, everybody!

The Freeman Family in the Month of September

4 Oct

Life in abundance comes only through great love. – Elbert Hubbard

I honestly don’t even know how to adequately sum up our family in the month of September, except to say that we are changed forever with the addition of this tiny little creature named Tessa. I knew I would love my daughter. I already loved her so much when she was just a thump and a wiggle in my belly, and I knew that love would amplify and magnify when I held her in my arms and locked eyes with her for the first time. But I had NO IDEA. I don’t think anyone ever really could know. The love flooding my soul is so infinitely better than I ever could have fathomed.

This little tiny girl is a part of me, and a part of my husband, and she contains both of our hearts. Our love is now combined in this angel and somehow multiplied a thousand-fold. I am changed forever as a person. As I spend each day praying for her, going to great lengths to keep her exclusively on breast milk, surrounding her in a healthy environment, using only natural products on her to keep her safe in any and every conceivable way that I can – mind, body and soul – I find that I am taking better care of myself. I am striving to be the woman that I need to be to help her become the woman that God intends for her to become.

She is the best thing that has ever happened to me and Jonathan. And we are still in awe. How can this be? How can she belong to us? How can she be ours? She’s precious. Priceless. The most worthy thing on this planet. And having her here has made the world a better place.

We will love her forever. We can’t NOT love her forever. This tiny frail creature, so helpless and trusting and innocent, is a mighty force exerting a power stronger than any I’ve known. Every ounce of her being demands to be loved, to be held as a sacred creation of God Almighty. She’s covered in the fingerprints of the Being that spoke the stars into existence, and she outshines them all. Her little baby feet, her tiny little toes, her petite fingers that struggle to grasp my pinky… if this baby princess demands worship, how much more so the God that created her?

Tessa is a miraculous and sweet little piece of heaven. Jonathan and I are so blessed. I cannot wait to see our family grow month by month… I have no idea what life has in store for us, but I am excited for this miraculous journey. Life has certainly gotten sweet.

Happy October my friends!

The Freeman Family in the Month of July

6 Aug

“Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit.” – Bernard Williams

Above is the month of July in Instagram photos. It feels like more of “The Gingi Show” and less like “The Freeman Family” with Jonathan being in Navy Boot Camp in Illinois for all of July, and all the photos being primarily of me, my cats, and the books I’ve read. But the coming months should contain photos of Jonathan AND baby Tessa! *so excited*

July was kind of hard on me. I dealt with the first month apart from Jonathan with an amazing degree of peace and serenity. Then, as the weeks and days inched closer to seeing my handsome husband again, I found my emotions taking a wild ride that ranged from euphoria to depression within seconds. I honestly cannot tell if my emotions are circumstantial (husband being gone) or hormonal (baby wreaking havoc with my body) or maybe a combination of both. But the latter half of July was not exactly bueno.

But aside from the mood swings and crankiness, July was fairly productive on both of our ends. I kept busy with ever more crafts and projects (like Tessa’s baby shower and planning for the Navy family Meet and Greet!) and Jonathan had a blast at Boot Camp. His division won the Captains Cup, and he earned a ribbon for being a Sharpshooter. He also performed on the drums with the Navy Drum Line live at the two PIR’s prior to his own. I am so very very proud of him!

And a lot of those worries and unknowns I was fretting about in June? They are slowly becoming KNOWNS, which is fan-freaking-tastic. For instance, Jonathan is definitely going to school in Pensacola. We assumed that would be the case, but knowing makes planning so much easier. Now I can look for an apartment, a doula, a birth photographer, a place to pop out my princess, and so on. I can also start advertising for wedding photography again. It’s such a liberating feeling knowing what is going on! Don’t get me wrong, I am all for adventure and excitement, but the stress of birth and a cross country move? Well, I was on the verge of being all funned out with so many great unknowns looming over my head!

I’m still taking it all one day at a time, putting our lives and our situation in God’s hands, and focusing on the things I CAN control and plan for. While these two months away from my husband – and being relatively without communication – have been hard, it has convinced me that we can weather anything. So the upcoming move to a new state, settling in, and planning for a baby is something I know we can handle. I am so proud of the man that I married, and so excited to have our little daughter joining us to be a family. Life sure is about to get interesting!

And now. Here’s some of my favorite tweets from the month of July:

I need to learn to handle my own panic so I don’t convey it to my child. But PAPER CUTS, man. How do you NOT freak out??!

The life I crave = what most feminists rail against as an artificial socially constructed gender role. They can suck my white picket fence.

I love cats! Meow meow meow meow meow!!

I discovered an armrest in my basketball tummy, but Tessa keeps kicking me. It’s my belly TOO, Tessa.

Its insane to think, not too long ago was a barbaric age before Google maps where you could not find the nearest Starbucks from your car…

I keep looking at photos of myself from a couple years ago and thinking “Man, you’ve really let yourself go.” Then I remember I’m pregnant.

I always knew I’d be a MILF someday. Now my new goal is to someday be a grandMILF!

I’m being disgustingly domestic, making Star Wars diaper covers in my pajamas whilst reading “The Power of a Praying Wife”.

Women who think being pregnant is “fun”, who hurt you?

Pro-choicers – “It’s just a blob of tissue.” *looks at ultrasound of Tessa* Same pro-choicers – “OMG, she looks just like you!”

My idea of hanging out is forcing my friends to watch funny YouTube videos all day…

I just told my cat to stop being a pussy, and then laughed at my inadvertent funny.

It’s going to be very hard to leave the people we love and start all over again…

If everything were easy, life would be boring.

I can tell you right now, my husband is going to want to cosplay grown up Hiccup from How To Train Your Dragon 2…

This baby keeps bruising me in ONE SPOT on my belly. I wish I knew what she was doing. And I wish my husband were here so I could blame him.

I just really want to be able to scream “YOU DID THIS TO ME!!” to my husband. That’s really the extent of my knowledge of how babies happen.

The problem with cuddling in bed now is that my iPhone doesn’t cuddle back.

I want to make out with Jonthan’s face.

It’s not fun not getting the sex.

Ugh, I am so desperately in love with my husband, it’s so annoying!

Sigh. Another douchebag telling me I’m waging a War on Women as he advocates killing my daughter in the womb.

I have an uncontrollable urge to buy Jonathan some new pants. It’s my favorite package, I should make sure it’s suitably wrapped.

Having a baby hurts, I’m told.

My friends know me too well – “She’s bored without her husband. So it’s either debating politics or taking pictures of her cats.” TOO TRUE!

I need a tremendous amount of love, attention and compassion right now.

These past weeks have been a self-imposed self-nurturing time: reading, watching anime, doing whatever I really really want to do.

Cell phone, I don’t know why you keep capitalizing COSPLAY, but I like the way you party.

Got to talk to Jonathan… He was awesome and earned a surprise phone call home! *happy dance*

I get inappropriately excited over what I perceive to be sexual innuendos in descriptions of coffee.

People who type out “should of” instead of “should have”. Ugh.

Okay, I give up. I can’t stop calling my daughter kitty. I now dub it your new nickname, unborn child of mine.

I just bitched someone out in a McDonalds drive through line, if you’re wondering how classy pregnancy is keeping me.

I just want to give birth with my pants on. That’s my birth plan.

My husband is officially a sailor!

On the way to see my handsome husband. He graduates THIS FRIDAY! *nose bleed* *faints*

The Freeman Family In The Month of May

31 May

“Change is inevitable, growth is intentional.” – Glenda Cloud

Above is the month of May in Instagram. The beginning of June marks the one month birthday of my new blog! I started this to act as a kind of personal family journal / creative outlet / time waster to keep me busy while Jonathan is in boot camp and to help me chronicle my new family in the making. This blog has kind of been all over the place, and I’m really just getting a feel for what I want to blog about and post, but I’ve been having a blast so far! I’m grateful for all the feedback, the views and the “likes” I’ve received so far, it’s encouraging and greatly appreciated!

So! May in review. Well, it’s finally starting to become more and more real that we are expecting a daughter. At the beginning of the month Jonathan had just been feeling Tessa move for about a week, and now we feel Tessa move all the time. We can even see her wiggling from the outside when she gets into little tantrums and fits!

There’s not much to wax poetic about event-wise that hasn’t already been blogged throughout the month, and really this whole month has been our calm before the storm. We spent our time being lazy, playing video games, traveling around for vacation and family and overdosing on time with friends.

The biggest “thing” about May, is it is our last month in civilian life – at least for the next four years. Jonathan is leaving for boot camp THIS MONDAY. *breathes slowly into a paper bag*

I am worried and simultaneously excited about the many changes that lie ahead. I worry about being parted from Jonathan during the next few months. I worry about where Jonathans A School will be and how hard it will be to find an apartment with our cats and dog. I worry about the process of packing up animals and belongings and moving while 4 weeks from my due date. I worry about Jonathan being able to be present for Tessa’s birth. And I worry about whether he will be able to live off base with me to help take care of our newborn. At least all these worries distract me from the more traditional fears that generally plague new parents: Will I be a good mom? How will our lives change? Will I ever fit into a Kagome Higurashi schoolgirl outfit again without looking ridiculous? (Okay, maybe that last fear isn’t traditional, per se. But the sentiment is the same.)

I have been latching onto the adage that “worrying doesn’t rob tomorrow of it’s sorrow, it only saps today of it’s joy” (or something like that, I’m probably quoting it all wonky, but you get the idea), because there is literally NOTHING I CAN DO to address these concerns until the time comes to approach them head on. So I’m choosing to view the great unknown as an adventure and just keep moving forward. Any waves of worry, fear and anxiety I experience, I’ll make an effort to transform into excitement and positive energy. Because this is the start of a whole new chapter in our lives and it should be enjoyed!

And now. Here’s some of my favorite tweets from May:

Me – “Where are you going?” Him – “The bathroom.” Me – “Can I go with you?” … Yeah, I’m a little needy today.

No matter how much I accomplish or achieve, my cats will always think they are better than me.

Just saw a black mans penis. My simultaneous craving for a bacon wrapped hot dog is very confusing. Welcome to LA!

That moment when you use a restroom you’ve used many times before and realize: this is the first time I’ve used it not in costume…

Owning a cat means that someone will always poop in your zen garden.

Jonathan – “I know you think you can’t sing, but you have a very pretty feminine singing voice sweetheart, kind of like Justin Biebers.”

I give Jonathan far too many opportunities to say, “My first wife was traded.”

All of my “meeting my future prince” daydreams as a child usually involved me hitting him with my car then getting to play nurse…

I often say “sex” when what I really mean is “coffee”.

My uterus has become a playground, apparently.

I can always tell when Jon is thinking naughty thoughts cuz he gets the same look on his face that our cat Kyo does when he’s in trouble.

As a general rule, I don’t wear white pants on account of I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly.

*tries to strip for Jonathan* *gets stuck in jacket* *Jonathan throws money at me while I’m stuck.* Dammit.

Due to my obsessive reading I have a large vocabulary of words that I have no idea how to pronounce.

I’m lazy, and pregnant, so I think I’ll take this watermelon into the shower with me.

My husband is the most badass Death Knight on WoW as he’s covered in purring and muffining cats.

I’ll miss the days when my husband and I fight over whose hair band is whose.

I need to add “killed by a sewage monster” to my growing list of irrational deaths I fear.

Whenever someone asks a stupid question in WoW I ask, “Are you a girl in real life?” The answer is usually yes.

“Not a food!” “Stop licking me.” “Does not want.” – Things I have to say way too often in this house.

I called my daughter “whats-its-face” today, so I think I’m now officially a mom?