Monday, May 10, 2010

Being a Mommy Rocks.

Mother's Day was a happy one! I am one lucky lady to not only have the best mom in the world, but also to be mom to the most amazing little girl (and one on the way)!

Alana made this flower for me at school...such a cute idea! Her teacher took a picture of her "holding flowers" and then put these artificial flowers in her hand. I know this will be one of those things I keep forever and ever!

She also gave me a sweet card and some homemade art, just like she does every other day :) I am gonna have to rent a storage unit soon, just to house all of her little projects she makes. No one could ever say that she is not creative!

My mom surprised me with a beautiful bracelet, too! The picture does not do it justice, but it's really hard to take a picture of it! It is a Trollbeads bracelet! I was not familiar with the story of Trollbeads, but now that I have been schooled (ha) I think they are really cool. If you are interested click here to learn. Right now, I have 6 charms on my bracelet...The first one (from the left) is the faith, hope and charity charm. Next is my birthstone. The 3rd charm is called "endless". Next is a pearl which is Alana's birthstone. The 5th charm has a J with hearts (for Justin) and last but not least is the "baby girl" charm. It's pink with a little stone, hard to see here. All of these charms are meaningful, and I love my bracelet! And I have lots of room to add more!

The past 5 years have been special ones on this day, but this year I had one more reason to be excited and feel blessed! It's so nice to know that later on this year, I will be "Mommy" to one more.

Most everyone already knows that the newest Portas is a little girl, but most of you don't know what her name is!

Drumroll, please...

Avery Caroline Portas

And because Alana was rooting for a different name, she plans to call her "Sunny" :) I think it's kind of funny that she has taken it upon herself to name her baby sister...but I also think it is cute, so I won't be discouraging it!

I have definitely felt better this past month, as far as the pregnancy is concerned. Justin has started his job as a security guard for a federal building downtown, and although his hours are long and somewhat monotonous, we are thankful that he is employed!

Alana has really come around as far as school is concerned, too. We went through a couple of rough weeks, where she didn't want to go to school. Now she loves it, as she is making more friends and finding her place back in Tennessee! She only has less than three weeks to go and she will be a big first grader! I can't believe it--where did the time go?!

All I know is that life is good...and being a mommy is even better :)

Friday, April 30, 2010

Horrible Blogger!

I know, I know...I should be hung by my toenails and beat with a wet noodle...or tarred and feathered...SOMETHING! I have been informed by plenty that I haven't posted a blog since before we moved back to TN. I would love to say that it is because I am so incredibly busy that I don't have the time. That is not true :) I have lots to say, I just haven't taken the time to do it.

I'm not even going to do it right now! Instead, I am promising that this is the start of getting back into it...

New post (with substance) to come SOOOOOON!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patty's Day Goodbyes

The fact that I am sitting down to post a blog is amazing in itself...Things have been super busy here the past weeks, especially the past few days! Justin and I have been wearing ourselves out getting things in order for our big move...The movers will be here in less than 12 hours! And then we will clean, paint and drive for two days :) There IS a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, though!

So today was Alana's last FULL day of school. She's going tomorrow, but it's an early release day. Justin and I took cupcakes (green ones, of course!) to her class this afternoon for a "goodbye" party. She also made special gifts for each of her classmates--a pencil with a note attached, asking everyone to be her pen pal.

Here is the finished product!
(I blurred out our new address for obvious reasons)

I had to throw this picture in...This week they are raising money for relay for life and yesterday was "crazy clothes" day...I think she looks kinda 80s, but super cute still :)

The yellow table...
This is Alana's table, munching down on cupcakes.

And the next table...

Last but not least!

Justin was trying to take a picture of Alana and her friend Jadin...
The boys kept trying to jump in :)
And today, by the way, was crazy HAT day!

Jadin T. and Alana
I can't stop laughing when I see her picture because Justin said today she looks
like a mini-Sarah Silverman...It's kinda true :)

Katla!
I think Justin was trying to take a picture of Aidan behind her...
He laughed hysterically because she had icing in every inch of her hair!

My big girl, making a silly face :)

Ms. Kimball and her star student :)
It was bittersweet, but we are excited about our newest chapter of life. It's always nice when you go to your child's school to get transfer papers and they say your daughter cannot leave :) Ms. Kimball went over some of Alana's math testing, etc with me and it made me SO proud. She missed ONE question (that she didn't answer at all) and when Ms. K. explained it to me, I didn't understand what she was supposed to do either haha. Very proud of my baby girl! Everyone keeps telling me how amazing she is going to do no matter where she is--and I agree!

Please pray for us these next few days as we travel to Columbia, SC (to visit Gigi and the aunts) and then on to Nashville. We are all worn out, but like I said...we have motivation to get there!

I have to get back to business...

Peace, Love and Lucky days

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Baby Portas


Here are the first pictures of Baby Portas. The doctor kept the best of the 3, so these will have to do. Alana says they are "boring"...you may agree :)

According to the dr, the baby is good with a strong heartbeat...I am 10 weeks, 2 days (now) and the Estimated Due Date is September 21st.

More to come!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Praise Him!



I posted this video on facebook, but wanted to share it here too...just in case some of you don't have a facebook account. I saw this video for the first time when Pastor Fred showed it over a year ago at church. It never fails to give me goosebumps, especially around the 3:30 mark. Please take the time to watch this video if you've never seen it...and if you have, you will most likely want to watch it again.

Let's remember to be conspicuous and never ashamed to praise Him...no matter where we are!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Yes, It's TRUE!!

I have been waiting to post about this, simply because I don't know too many details as of yet. I guess I will go ahead and spill what I DO know for those of you who are confused :) Here goes...

I received a phone call from Justin early this week. When I answered the number with a VA area code, I was not expecting it to be him. Much to my surprise, his voice replied "Hey...we have a lot of decisions to make." My first thought was "uh-oh" and my second thought was "shoooooot". Both were pretty accurate reactions to what was to come. Justin found out that the only orders for shore duty included Sugar Grove, WV and Groton, CT. At first, I didn't really care. My response was something like "We'll make it work wherever we end up, at least we'll be together." Then I did some research. This is what I found...

WV
--only about 800 people on the base (in comparison to the 50,000 here)...could be a good thing, depending on how you look at it.
--no commissary, only a "shoppette" which they compare to a 7-11
--nearest Walmart (OR ANYTHING) is a good 45 minutes away
--limited (if any) cell phone service
--in the middle of the mountains
--no colleges close enough for me to even think about attending
--2 churches, neither one a denomination we would attend
--the elementary school admits they are not academically advanced, but small enough for lots of one-on-one attention

CT
--WAY farther north than we ever want to live
--see above, too far from our family
--COLD COLD COLD
--has a college that I might be able to go to, but the one closest only has degree programs relating to marine/aquatics
--the housing looks nice, which would be a must because I would never leave the house haha
--Did I mention how COLD it is in CT?

The other option that the Navy gave Justin was to do back-to-back sea duty, which would mean that for the next 3 years he would spend much of his time deployed again. My husband, crazy as he is, told them he'd go to the squadron and do just that. The squadron he'd join would be attached to the Ike. This would also mean he would be staying until the end of THIS 8-month deployment.

It's really really hard to make these kind of decisions when you are oceans apart. We spent the next 24 hours emailing each other back and forth with our ideas and suggestions. I looked at everything I could find on the internet, and I tried to give Justin the most unbiased portrait of each place...I know I failed at the unbiased part. The more we thought about it the more confused we felt. We both decided to just spend the following night praying about it. I know that I personally prayed for peace and wisdom. I prayed for clarity in our decision-making. Overall, the thing we have wanted most is to follow God's will, and I found myself asking (and others) how I know if it's God's or not.

Fast forward to the next morning.

I woke up EARLY. Couldn't go back to sleep...I prayed some more and then came downstairs to go back online and do more research. There are a few things that flashed in my mind the entire time. The answer was right in front of me. It wasn't what I wanted it to be...but I knew that the decision was the right one. And then I wrote this email:

"Hey baby...Get out of the Navy. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. We will work it out. We will make a way. I love you xoxo."

Ok, maybe my words weren't those exactly--but they were close. I waited ALL day to hear back from him. The response was hysterical:

"Hey baby...are you for real? Don't play around. I'm going to personnel now to start the check-out process. See you in 28 days."

Again, a bit of a paraphrase...but this is pretty close I'm sure.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have been telling Justin that he's "not allowed" to get out of the Navy yet...I have done nothing more than beg him to stay in. After all, where would we go? What would we do for a living? What about my school? And Alana's? As I spent so much time in prayer, really asking God for that direction, I realized that my problem has been trying to micro-manage everything. I say that I trust my God and my husband, but yet I try to control the situation too. I can't do both.

Justin has been living on a ship for the past 4 years. He has been gone from home more than 2 of those years. He is surrounded by worldly people, and it is difficult to be a light in that darkness after a while. Alana cried herself to sleep the night before Justin called to tell me his order situation. She sobbed. She played her build-a-bear that Justin made for her before last deployment. As his voice said "Hey Alana, it's Daddy...I miss you and I love you so much. See you real soon," she hugged it and cried louder. I miss my husband terribly when he's gone. It breaks my heart to see Alana heartbroken. We all miss our family...so why am I being so adamant that this continues?

One word...FEAR!

I'm tired of being fearful. Justin initially told the Navy he would go to the squadron and do another 3 years of sea duty. My initial reaction was "YOU DID WHAT?!" I couldn't figure out why he would do such a thing...Then it hit me. He did it because he thought it was best for Alana and me. When we were trying to weigh the options with WV and CT, Justin finally asked..."What would make you and Alana the happiest?" It was these unselfish things that ultimately made me realize that no matter where we are...no matter what we are doing...I have a husband (and Alana has a daddy) that is going to make sure that we are cared for.

It's such a beautiful reminder of how God loves us, too.

We don't know exactly when Justin will be home, but we are thinking it will be around the 20th of February. Our plans are to move back to Nashville and start a new chapter of our lives! We are excited and nervous...but overall, we know that we will be together at the end of each day and that we can conquer anything!

I will update with more details as I get them! But please keep us all in your prayers as we have a LOT of planning to do in the next month or so...

Peace, Love and Trusting God

Saturday, January 2, 2010

It's 2010 and JP's gone AGAIN!

This is my most amazing husband. He is not dressed like this for fun, nor is he planning for next year's Halloween costume. He is a sailor in the US Navy...and I love him!Pretty much everyone knows by now that Justin just left on his THIRD and final deployment this morning. I am sad, because he is my best friend and when he leaves half of my heart goes with him...however, I am also a lot of other things. I am PROUD. He is fighting for our country, and that means he is fighting for you. I am LUCKY. Justin would rather be home, but he is selflessly doing this for our family and our future. I am HAPPY that this is his last cruise...then he will be home with us every night thanks to a little thing called shore duty.

Even thought it was hard to ring in the new year knowing what was right around the corner, we managed to make the most of each moment we had together...One of Alana and Justin's favorite thing to do together (among many) is to wrestle. Our bed is the ring, and the pillows are their opponents. They join forces as "the PORTAS POSSE" and then decide to battle each other :) I took some pictures last night before he left of their final match of the season...

Alana's got him in a head lock lol

A knee to the chest!
Super GIRL!!!
(This can't end well lol)

And again!

Ok, time to hug it out

Smiles

Giggles

Alana took this picture of me and Justin.
What can I say it'd been a long day :)

Our futon was taken over by the piles of clothes and uniforms...
itchy sheets and such...

More stuff to take with him...

The seabag and boots by the door...
Always make it real.

I never ever ever ever ever go up to see the ship leave. It's just so sad. I feel like it's torture to drag it out very long. Justin and I have figured out how to keep our "see ya laters" short and sweet to save us both heartache. This morning, I woke up wanting to go up and see him off. He left last night about midnight. Angie and Jeremy were gonna go up there, so I asked if I could go along for the ride and drive the Beetle back. I'm glad we did...even though it was FREEEEEZING.
Alana getting ready to go see Daddy off!

Haha, Angie took this picture of me on one of my many SHORT trips out of the car!

They were getting ready to push off.

Turning the ship out of the pier.

Alana was wondering if she should brave the cold too...

We moved the car to another spot to get a view of the ship once it was away from the pier.

Angie again...from the WARM car!
Alana and I trying not to blow away but going down to the rocks.
Haha you can't even see my head :)

Alana trying to keep her hat on and wave goodbye to Justin at the same time :)

Bye Ike, you have my heart!
I used my new Flip video recorder to tape the ship pulling out. It was literally in the teens or below with the wind gusts down there. I'm not kidding when I say I could hardly stand up out there. So you have to bear with the sound of the wind and the shaking of the camera...it was too hard to hold the thing steady when I could barely stand up myself! The videos below are just random clips i recorded...they are actually in reverse order. Note: Alana can barely stand up lol.
video video video

All I know is that this next 6 months or so better go by fast! Continue to pray for our family as we are still awaiting orders...We don't know where "home" will be in the next year, but we do trust that we will be wherever God leads us. After all, He is the true Commander in Chief :)

And to Justin--I miss you already, baby...I am so proud of you and all you have accomplished. We will be ready and waiting when you get home to us! Your girls (and Scooter) love you!

Peace, Love and Lots of lonely nights to come :)