Friday, December 4, 2009

The Verdict

For those who have not seen this on Facebook, here is what the Army decided:


Finally, a decision has been made! It isn't exactly what we were hoping for, but I still think it's pretty good. Here are the results:
  • Casey is being discharged from the Army, but it is a "good" discharge (as opposed to "dishonorable").
  • He should be processed out quickly and could be home as soon as a week from today!
  • We were going to have to buy plane tickets to get him home for Christmas, but the Army is going to pay for his trip home!
  • He will have the opportunity to get back in the army in 6 months! He just has to get a medical waiver of some sort signed, and he can go right back in!
I think that pretty much sums it up. We were hoping he could stay, but at least he can go back if he wants to. We will be looking for a new job ASAP, so we will just see where God leads us next. He could find a great job and decide to stick with that, or he might decide to try this army thing again after 6 months--who knows? God knows where we need to be, and He will guide us through this time of transition.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who has been with us through this mess! Casey will still be in Oklahoma for at least another week trying to get this paperwork done, so please keep him in mind. He is a bit lonely, bored, and trying to get over a nasty cold and cough (aren't we all??). We can't wait to have him home with us to celebrate Christmas together!!! I am so proud of him!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

They that wait...

Casey called this morning--he found out yesterday that he has been cleared medically (yay!), but they still have not given him an answer about whether he will stay in the Army or be processed out. Since the seizures he used to have were psychosomatic (non-epileptic), they want him to talk with their mental health people before they decide. I can't imagine that this will be an issue for him, but we still have to wait and see what they decide. Once again, we are faced with the army's famous "hurry up and wait" approach. I am mainly getting more anxious because he still has not been able to buy his tickets to come home for Christmas, and prices are going up every day! I hope we will have an answer before we reach the weekend, and that he will be able to buy his tickets for Christmas soon.


I am currently going to a Ladies' Bible Class on Tuesday mornings, and we are doing a Beth Moore study on the book of Esther. Each lesson has been wonderful, but the message this week was especially relevant for me. I kept turning to my friend Joy and saying, "She knows me!" as we watched the video. :) Beth was pointing out that when we wait on the "thing," whether it is an event or person, we get SO worn out! But "they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up on wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31) GOD is in control, and all things happen in HIS time. If we wait on Him, we will be strengthened! I don't know how people deal with situations like this without leaning on the strength of our Lord. I couldn't do it! Knowing that He holds my family so close in His hands gives me all the comfort I need to keep going. We often say, "in the meantime..." and in this past lesson, Beth pointed out that the "meantime" is "God time." His timing is amazing--He knows just what we need!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Casey/Army update

For those who can't see the note I posted on Facebook, here is the latest update on Casey's situation:


Casey left for Basic Combat Training (BCT) 2 weeks ago. While he was in the reception process (filling out paperwork, getting head shaved, getting uniform, etc.), he was asked, "What did your recruiter tell you not to report on your paperwork?" Casey is an honest man, so he told them that he was instructed not to report his past medical issues. They immediately requested his latest test results from the hospital and told him that he would NOT ship to BCT with the rest of his platoon. He had an appointment set up for today (Tuesday) to meet with a Captain to discuss the possibility of being processed out of the army.

He met with the Captain today, and we STILL don't have an answer, but it is much more hopeful. He asked Casey how much he wanted to be there, and Casey told them he has wanted to do this for a long time, he wants to provide for his family, and he wants to serve his country. The Captain looked over the hospital report and saw that Casey's seizures weren't epileptic (or even connected to abnormal brain activity), and Casey told him I could fax over statements from his doctors stating that he received the treatment he was supposed to, he is no longer on any medications, and he is fine to stay in the army. The Captain took him at his word and said I didn't need to fax that over, but this was a bit over his head so he will have to talk with his superiors before making a decision.

Casey has another appointment tomorrow (Wednesday) with the Captain to see what he and "his superiors" have decided. Best case scenario: Casey can stay in the army and start BCT immediately (they might be adding a couple of guys to his original platoon tomorrow since they've barely started). Next best case: Casey can stay and start BCT in January. Worst case (but it will be ok): Casey is discharged from the army and we have to find a new job ASAP.

I will post an update as soon as I hear from Casey again, but I have no idea when that will be. He might be able to call me again tomorrow night, but there is no guarantee.

Thank you SO MUCH to everyone for the continued prayers and words of encouragement!! I know that God hears each of us, and I am so grateful to have so many voices lifted on behalf of my family. We are truly blessed by you!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Gotta love a man in uniform! :)

In case you have been in a state of disbelief that Casey joined the army, I now have proof:

Doesn't he look great?? They apparently had a good amount of personal time today, so he got to call for 32 minutes (yes, every minute counts!) and I asked him to send a picture from his phone. They have been doing a lot of paperwork, getting shots (immunizations, tetanus, etc.), being issued their uniform.... they've been busy. :) He is doing well and says he is enjoying it so far. He said he has already sent a letter, but won't have an address until they "cross the tracks" to Basic Combat Training (BCT) next week. As of right now, they are scheduled to cross on Wednesday. I'm not sure when I'll hear from him again, so I'll be checking the mail box every 5 minutes between now and his next call. :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Moment to remember

I do not want to forget this, so suffer through with me while I jot this memory down...


We made a video of Casey reading books with Abby before he left so she could watch it while he is gone. Yesterday, Abby and I watched the video for the first time, and we looked through each book as Daddy read it. As we were reading her Bible, she started grabbing at my hand and saying, "Pay? Pay?" over and over again. I couldn't figure out what in the world she was doing, and then I saw her do it to Casey on the video, too. I finally figured out that she was trying to hold my hand and was saying, "Pray?" How sweet is that?! Sometimes when we read her Bible stories at night, we say a prayer when we are done. I guess that is an automatic association for her now, and I love that! So we did stop and pray to thank God for our family and ask that He keep Daddy safe. I didn't cry then, but I'm tearing up a little now as I type it out...

I am very, very proud of my husband and what he is doing for his family and country. I got to talk with him for about 3 minutes tonight--just long enough to hear that he is ok, things are going well, he will write me a letter soon with more details, and all of his hair is gone. :) I think it will be sometime next week before I get his address, but I'll be sure to email it to friends and family when I get it. Thanks to all for the continued prayers and words of encouragement!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

And so it begins

Casey is now at the MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station) hotel and will leave for Oklahoma (hopefully!) tomorrow. He might be able to keep his cell phone with him for the next couple of days while he goes through reception, but then we'll just have to take it a day at a time. I did cry a little when we dropped him off, but I'm doing pretty well so far. Then again... it's only been 3 hours. :) I'm not too worried.

Is it Christmas yet??

In other news, this is what I found when I got off the phone yesterday:

Isn't she lovely?? Yes, she thought so, too. :)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Lord's Prayer for the Military Wife

We are one week from Casey's departure to Basic Training. Several of the guys from church took him camping this past Friday night, and they gave him the "Soldier's Bible" to take with him. It has a lot of neat stuff in addition to the Scriptures for soldiers to read when they are studying the Bible. I found this in the back, and I love it.

Lord’s Prayer for the Military Wife (Author Unknown)

Lord, grant me the greatness of heart to see

The difference in duty and his love for me.

Give me the understanding to know

That when duty calls he must go.

Give me a task to do each day

To fill the time when he is away,

And Lord, when duty is in the field,

Please protect him and be his shield.


Army Strong by the grace of God

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Abby has been sick most of this week so we didn't go to Harding's Trunk-or-Treat tonight, but we did get some pictures of her in her costume. We did manage to get out of the house for a while this morning to visit the petting zoo at Harding. She was great while we were out (for the first time all week!), but I think she was pretty worn out after a full morning. Here are a few pictures from today. I hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween!

Petting the pony with Nana
Cuddling with a bunny and Aunt Tara
Pony ride with Daddy!
Mommy and the Fairy Princess

Monday, October 19, 2009

Monthly review

We've been a little busy this past month. Sorry. :) Here is what you should know:
  • I am doing entirely too much this semester. Grad school is ridiculous, and I'm not really sure when I will graduate with this degree. It will happen.... one of these days.
  • Casey leaves for Basic in 4 weeks--we are within the 30 day countdown. There is way too much that we need to do before he goes!
  • There are still a few boxes that need to be unpacked, but this apartment is becoming "home." Whenever I get frustrated that we don't have a yard for Abby to run around in, I remind myself that this also means there is not a yard that I have to mow. Frequent trips to the park: check.
  • I sold several sets of coasters at an event in Memphis this past weekend. Not quite as many as we had hoped, but it was definitely worth the trip. I would not be sad if I never made another coaster in my life.
  • I don't know the exact number, but Abby has about 50 words now. This number will be obsolete as soon as you read it because she seems to say a new word (or 5) every day! Current obsessions include Mickey Mouse and (heaven help us) Elmo. She loves to play outside and to swing. She is definitely a girly girl, though. Anything that you can put things into is a purse, and if it fits on the wrist, it's a bracelet. She is getting much more coordinated with a fork and spoon, and she can name the letter 'A'. Every day is a new adventure.... for both of us. :)
I would like to get some decent family pictures made before Casey leaves. In the meantime, we'll all just have to settle for this:

Friday, September 25, 2009

Movin' and Groovin'

We are in the apartment, the house is SOLD, and I am exhausted! I really do plan on putting updated pictures up... just as soon as I can find the camera. :) It was down to the wire, but we did manage to get everything out of the house before closing today. We are so blessed to have the friends and church family here who are always eager to help out. We couldn't have done this without them! A ton of our stuff is now sitting in a storage unit, and there are piles all over the apartment just waiting to be sorted. I have a feeling we will be making more trips to deposit "junk" in the storage unit before this is all said and done. The goal is to have it all sorted and settled before Casey leaves in November!


I don't have a single recent picture to share, but I do have this quick video of Abby and her friend, Claira, dancing to the "Hot Dog" song on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Heaven help us--we have discovered cable TV.

video

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I once caught a fish THIS BIG...

Ok, so I didn't catch this fish--Mamaw did! I'm sure Dad has emailed these pictures to some of the family members, but in case you haven't seen it, here is Mamaw with the 10 lb. walleye that she caught while fishing with Dad this past weekend!

And here is Abby in all of her 13-month glory. Mamaw really liked this outfit, so she had me take a picture. :)
I will try to write more later when things calm down a little. We're currently trying to get moved out of the house and into the new apartment, so things are a bit chaotic. Stay tuned for pics of the new apartment!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Girls' Weekend

My three very best friends from college came to visit this past weekend, and it was wonderful! It was a short visit, but a good one. We just hung around, played with the kids, ate (of course), and enjoyed catching up. I love that I am still so close to all of my bridesmaids. We still talk on the phone, but it's just not the same as getting together! I hope we're able to continue the tradition of getting together at least once a year for a very long time. I love these girls!

Sara, Rachel w/Abby, Melissa w/Asher, and Lindsey w/Hallie (and baby #2 on the way!)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Houses and haircuts and birthdays--oh, my!

In the interest of getting to bed as soon as possible, here are the high points:
  • Our house is officially for sale! We put it on the market this past week, and I am planning to get an apartment here in Searcy when we sell it. Why Searcy? I have a strong church family here and friends to have playdates with for Abby. Plus, I'm SO close to finishing my masters degree at Harding. It will be much easier if I don't have to try to complete it long distance. Why an apartment? Abby and I won't need all this room when Casey is gone, and I don't want to keep up with house/yard maintenance. Pray that we sell it soon!
  • Abby and I both had our hair cut this past week! Well, Abby's was more of a trim so it would look healthier (and less like a mullet). I had mine completely chopped off! It has become an annual event for me. :) Abby was such a good girl:
Before the cut...
Reading while Lindsay cut her hair :)
The finished product (aka "trim")
I don't actually have any pictures of my hair yet (too busy taking pics of Abby, I guess), but I'm sure we'll take one eventually.
  • We had Abby's family birthday party at Mom and Dad's house this weekend, and I made the cake! It is the first cake I've ever actually decorated. I usually struggle with just icing a cake, so I was scared to death about putting "hair" icing on a teddy bear! Here are a few pics from the weekend:
Aunt Tara made a really cool cardboard house for Abby!
My teddy bear cake! The tummy says "Happy Birthday Abby" (written by Nana), and the eyes and nose are Hershey kisses. :) He's holding a "1" candle.
Enjoying her new recliner (thanks, Nana & Pawpaw!) and teddy bear (thanks, Peter!)
Playing with a new toy (thanks, Smith family!)
Ok, so this was a really long post... but now we're all caught up, and I can go to sleep. :)

Friday, July 31, 2009

"We're in the army..."

Oh my word, here we go. Casey is officially a member of the US Army. WHAT?! Yeah, that's what I keep thinking, too. Basic training is delayed, so he doesn't ship out until November 18... but STILL! That's only 3 1/2 months away! Before everyone gets the wrong impression, let me clarify: I am very excited about this. It is an amazing opportunity for us, and Casey is extremely excited about it. He has wanted to do this ever since I've known him. I think it will be really good for him personally, and let's face it--it'll be nice to have a solid income again! :) It's just also a little... scary? Anxiety-inducing?? Ok, I'm not really sure what the right word is, but you get the picture. The idea of being a single mom for 6 months is completely overwhelming, but I know God will see me through it. The thought of Abby having no idea who her father is after hardly seeing him for 6 months breaks my heart... but I know we'll come through that, too. We have no idea where we might end up being stationed, but I think we can view that as an adventure. My immediate human response is to totally freak out, but I am trying to remind my spastic self that God is in control of everything.


So what will change right now? We're not sure yet. We are thinking about selling the house in the next few months and looking for an apartment in Memphis so I can be closer to my parents while Casey is gone. Nothing is set in stone yet, but it's a possibility. What am I saying? Anything is a possibility right now.

Random side note: I received 2 more coaster orders on my website - from Canada! I have no idea how that woman came across my site, but I thought it was really neat. One set will be sent to Ontario and one to Nova Scotia. I should also be making more for David-Kidd Booksellers in Memphis soon, so that should help get us through the next few months. Hazzah for coasters!

And there you have it. My life is nothing like I thought it would ever be, but I'm learning to love it. :)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Early birthday

So that I don't forget, here are the most recent things Abby is doing:
  • Signing "please" instead of throwing a crazy fit when she wants something (now that she's got it down, we just have to teach her that it doesn't mean she automatically gets whatever she's asking for... suggestions?) :)
  • Putting stuff in and out of containers... over and over and over...
  • Dancing to music
  • New favorite song: "If You're Happy and You Know It"--she will stop fussing immediately if you sing this
  • NO MORE BOTTLES!! Abby goes to bed without a bottle now. What a big girl!
  • This one is hard to explain, but I'm going to try: she has learned the inflection we do when we say, "Look!" Kind of a high-low/double syllable thing to get her attention. She points to stuff and makes the pitches while excitedly saying "Ee-ee!" Now if only we can build up the vocabulary to go along with the sound...
  • Shaking her hair around in imitation of me when I blow-dry my hair.
  • Reading books... and then getting some more books..... after looking through books
  • Quacking when she sees a duck on anything
  • Sticking out her tongue when you ask, "What does a giraffe do?"
We are almost a week away from Abby's first birthday, and Casey's parents came down early to celebrate this past week. We only get to see them a couple of times a year, so this was only their second time to see her--ever! Well, Grandma Rhonda came down to see her in February when we were visiting a friend in KY, but Grandpa Terry hadn't seen Abby since Christmas. Abby has changed a little since then. ;) They brought presents, Casey made a cake, and we just had a small party at home. Here are a few pictures from their visit and the party:

Playing with Grandma Rhonda
Checking out a new toy with Grandpa Terry
Opening presents!
Our happy family
Checking out her first piece of cake
I think she likes it! :)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

One more week...

Can anyone out there believe that my little baby will be one year old in just 19 days?! I can't. I'm totally unprepared for this. I mean, I know she looks like she is at least 2 years old (see evidence below), but it's just too soon! The year has gone by way too fast.

Ok, so here is the craziness we are currently dealing with at the Cochran household:
  1. I have completed one grad class (with an A--yay!), and I'm halfway through the other. Just one more week of summer school! It really hasn't been that bad because I've had a great professor and not too much work. I'm only a few classes away from my Masters degree!!
  2. Casey is going through the process to join the army. Yes, you heard me--the ARMY. He has wanted to do this for years, but I've never been too thrilled about the idea. He's been looking for work for a long time, and finally decided that this is really what he wants to do. Since he already has his college degree, he would start out as an officer (which equals better pay!). He has passed the mental and physical tests. Now he just has to gather letters of reference and write an essay for the Officer Boards which are in Oklahoma at the end of this month. If all goes well, he should be signing up after that! So how do I feel about this? Excited/anxious. I know it could be something great for Casey, so I want it to work out for him. I am a little nervous about doing the single mom thing while he's away for 23 weeks in basic training and Officer Candidate School. I'm also anxious about where they might station us when he's done with training. LOTS of unknowns, and we still don't know that he'll definitely get in so we would appreciate your prayers as we go through this process!
  3. The director of the nursery where I work cut back on my hours significantly this past month since I was in grad classes, but she assured me I would get my regular shifts back in August. WRONG! I was working 5 days a week before this month, but someone took over those during July so I could be in class. It was supposed to be a temporary switch. When I talked with my boss today about the schedule for August, she informed me that I will be working 9 days that month. Nine days out of the whole month!! Does that sound like things are going back to normal? Is that nearly enough income to buy anything?? Can you tell I'm a little bit upset about this?! Now we are really hoping that Casey's plans will work out and we won't need to depend on that income as much.
There you have it: the good, the bad, and the really cute little girl who is getting way too big for her britches... literally. :)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

My Little Bookworm

Mom took this video a couple of weeks ago at her house. Abby loves books! Right now, she would almost always rather sit and read instead of playing with toys. Is that weird?? I guess she really is my kid... oh, and I guess Casey's, too. :) We both inhale all forms of media like it's going out of style, and it looks like we might've passed that on to Abby. She has already learned that she can walk to the bookshelf, pull off a book, bring it to you, sit down, and (naturally) you will read to her. The other day she tried to pull off 3 at once, so I said, "No, just one book. One." So she stopped... looked at me... and just picked one book! I love that she is so smart, but it does make me a little anxious about the years to come. I don't want her to get bored too quickly! We are just one month from her first birthday--how on earth did that happen?!

video

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Whatever Happened to Summer Vacation?!

I have been acting in the role of single working mother for about 3 weeks now, and I must say that I am thankful this is the last night of it! Casey is currently finishing his last night as the Harding Uplift videographer, and I am SO glad. He has been leaving around 8:00 a.m. every morning and getting home around 1:30 or 2:00 a.m. the following morning... on a good day. Last night, I think he managed to get one hour of sleep. He was getting home as I was waking up! This might be the last year he does this... we're getting too old for this. :) I'd say he has put in his time, though--I think this was his 5th year to do it!

Abby has been going to work with me a lot more since Casey has been unavailable, so we've had plenty of time to bond. Plenty. I started a grad class this week, though, so I'm not really working right now. I have a wonderful friend who stays home with her 2 1/2-year-old boy and keeps another friend's child, and she has helped SO much this week keeping Abby while I go to class. Abby loves going to her house, so it hasn't been too bad leaving her every day. It's only about 4 1/2 hours a day, but after being together 24/7 for so long it's a big change! She'll stay at home now since Casey is done with Uplift. We're not sure when or how much he will be working at Hibbett Sports now. They're supposed to work him back into the schedule, so we'll see how that goes.

Casey has been looking at a couple of other job opportunities, so I'll post more on that when we have more info. Just keep praying he finds something stable soon!

I am very tired and have class again at 8:00 a.m., so I'll finish here with an Abby picture (or 2). :) Thanks for those of you who still check this blog--I know I haven't been consistent with keeping it updated. Happy 4th of July to all!

My New Favorite Picture & Current Desktop Background:
Abby's 1st Pool Experience -- She loved it!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Good-bye baby, Hello toddler

Abby is still only 10 months old, but somehow it would appear that we have already moved on to the toddler stage. I thought she would be at least a year old before we dealt with this stuff! Here are her latest accomplishments:

  • Grabbing everything off of the table/dresser/desk she can reach and pulling it onto the floor
  • Crawling up onto the couch
  • Slamming every door closed that she comes in contact with (I'm waiting for the loss of a finger to occur at any moment.)
  • Using the signs for "eat" and "please" (only when she feels like it, of course)
  • Saying "mama," "baby," "yum yum," and "uh oh" (again, only when the mood strikes her)
  • Waving bye-bye and clapping
  • Giving kisses.... big, open mouthed, sloppy kisses
Oh, and let's not forget about this:
What. A. Mess. Please observe that she got herself into the ottoman cube first before climbing up onto the toy table. The girl is into everything!

Although, I guess no matter how big she gets, I'll still feel like this:
That's my baby girl. :)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A walking vampire

I was going to be in bed by 10:30 tonight, but as I was about to shut down the computer, I saw Abby's baby calendar... which I haven't been filling out.... at all. I was struck with sudden guilt and decided I had to get it up-to-date before I forgot everything she has done in the past few months! (Yes, months--I was that far behind.) Luckily, I blogged about some of her accomplishments and adventures over that span of time so I was able to put some of that on her calendar. That combined with the millions of pictures we have taken might have saved me. The calendar is now up to speed! And now for the latest entry on Abby's calendar....

She's walking! Can you believe it?! We have been counting her (independent) steps lately, and the highest she had gotten to was four. On Monday night, she had to go to work with me because Casey was working, too, and apparently she decided that was her moment to take off. I saw that she was going to take a few steps, so I started counting.... all the way up to 18! After that, it was all over. She just walks around all over the place now! She will drop back to her knees and crawl if she's really in a hurry to get somewhere, but she's much more confident with her walking now.

My baby will be 10 months in just a couple of days, and she's already walking around the house! I think I'm still in shock. :) We haven't had the video camera around when she's been walking yet, but we will get video soon.

In other Abby news, she has started looking like a little vampire (or hillbilly... we're not sure which). She has gotten two teeth on top now, but they're both of the side teeth! We have yet to see any sign of the front two teeth on top. It looks a little odd, but I have been assured by 2 different dental hygienists that it is nothing to worry about. Here's our little walking vampire:

Sunday, May 10, 2009

More changes

Here's what is going on in Cochran-land. :)

  • Casey recently got a new job at Hibbett Sports. (For those who were unaware, he lost his job at Harding at the end of March due to seizure issues and his inability to work. He's doing better and has been trying to find a job--any job--so we can pay our bills.) Orientation is Tuesday, at which point we will find out what position he has, what hours they expect him to work, etc.
  • I am still working in the nursery at the gym. I got a really great offer for another job today, and we are still considering the possibilities it might have. More on that later (once I know more about it).
  • Abby is now 9 months old. In case you missed the last post, she is trying to WALK! She has taken a couple of steps by herself and will stand alone for a little bit, but she's still a little nervous to just take off on her own. Sometimes we can trick her by getting her to hold on to a toy or her sippy cup when she tries to walk, but she figures it out after a couple of steps and sits down. She also has her 3rd tooth coming in, this time on the top. It's one of the side teeth instead of the middle ones, so this should be interesting. :)
  • I am starting back to grad school in July to continue work on my Masters of Education in Early Childhood Special Ed. (same as my BA degree). The current plan is to be done by next summer--only one year from now! If I can stick to it, I will be able to make more money if/when I go back to work full time when Abby is older. (I think I can, I think I can...)
Tara took a lot of cute pictures a few days ago of us playing in the backyard with Abby, so I hope to have those soon to put a couple of them on here and Facebook. In the meantime, here's our little mess (literally):

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Oh, here we go...

Abby's attempt to walk down the hall while only holding ONE of Daddy's hands...

She made it! And doesn't she look so proud?? :) It's only a matter of time...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter! I should be in bed right now, but I wanted to post my favorite pictures from our Easter in Memphis. Happy viewing, and goodnight! :)