What everyone says is true - babies grow ridiculously fast and change literally by the minute. I'm shocked at how much Will has learned and achieved just over the past couple of months. He took his first steps a couple weeks ago and learned to crawl just yesterday. A little bit out of order, but we were very proud! He hasn't mastered walking more than ten steps on his own yet, so we got him a cute little walker to push around. He practically sprints around the house with a delighted expression on his face every chance he gets. He's also learned how to give kisses and seems to be close to saying "Mama" and "Dada". Andrew and I just melt at the sweet smiles we get from him and the way he grabs our face and looks seriously into our eyes while he babbles. Such a sweetheart.
Andrew had the whole month of March "off"; meaning he didn't have to stand post. He would still go into work on weekdays usually from around 7 AM to 2 PM or so. It was wonderful having him home so much more often and having more freedom to go places as a family.
Will and I took a trip out to Columbus to see Joel and his family at the first of March. Sadly, Kate had to go on a business trip and we weren't able to see much of her, but Mimi and Papo came out for the last couple days and everyone had a blast. Will was fascinated by his silly cousins who kept him fully stocked with baby toys the whole time we were there. It was so sweet to watch the three of them interact. When we returned from Columbus, Andrew's friend, Gerald, visited us for a few days. It was a very happy reunion for the men since, with the exception of a short night at Christmas, Andrew had not seen his best friend since he left for boot camp almost two years ago.
A couple weeks ago we also had Uncle Jon come to visit. He got a great taste of parenthood when Will got sick with a fever while he was here and cried the majority of the time. Although it may not have been how he was hoping to spend his time here, I was so grateful one night when Andrew had to work until 9:30 and Jon and I took turns walking around and distracting Will while he screamed from a painful sore throat. I think I would have just burst into tears without his help.
We've recently started going to Anchor of Hope Reformed Church in Silverdale. For about a year we had been "church shopping" and had such a hard time finding a place that seemed like a good fit. Every time we thought we found a church where we could feel at home, something would happen to drive us away or convince us it was not the right place for us. There were a few Sundays where we could have gone to church, but didn't, simply because we didn't know where to go. While that may not have been the best decision, it was an extremely frustrating and lonely time for both of us being without any christian fellowship. It became clear to both of us in January that Anchor of Hope was the place we should be. It was one of those decisions that we were both confident was right, but not positive why. Looking back on it now, I'm so thankful we trusted the Lord's guidance on that. The church is small, which has actually been such a blessing. It has a very tight-knit, family feel and the whole congregation has been so kind to us since we started attending. Andrew and I went to a workshop there a few weeks ago called The Art of Marriage, which I highly recommend. Different churches in the northwest (and maybe nationally) have been hosting this video series and it's incredibly helpful whether you've been married one year or thirty years. Andrew and I both walked out with a greater understanding of what our marriage should look like, the purpose it should serve and what our individual roles are. Our marriage has already benefited from that video series and it has been so encouraging to have such a sweet fellowship of believers to meet with weekly. Just finding a church home has personally made my life much happier and less lonely and I'm so thankful that God brought our family there.
Will and I have been taking "swimming lessons" together, which has been a pretty hilarious experience. It's helped him to get accustomed to the water and I've been pleasantly surprised that he hasn't had one meltdown. There is also a one-year-old and an eighteen-month-old in the class who spend the entire time bawling their eyes out. Will stares at them with a concerned look on his face and last week became somewhat of a role model. Every time he did something, their moms told them to do what he did. "Splash the water like the baby does." "Can you kick like the baby's doing?" You can just call him Will, the swimming instructor. He definitely did not take after Mommy in that area. I have a feeling someday he'll have to save me from a swimming pool. Anyway, I'm hoping this fearlessness of water continues and he won't be the one sobbing in a year. Fingers crossed.
I've been looking to find things to get involved in in the area for both me and Will, on and off base. There is a spouse's network in Andrew's battalion that I've been working to get more involved in and a few "Parents and Tots" groups are going to hopefully start from that soon. Will and I regularly attend story time at the local library and I just discovered an indoor playground nearby that I'd like to take him to soon. There is a toddler's music class I'd like to sign us up for in a couple months when he gets a little older as well. He's getting to such a fun age where he really enjoys being out and meeting new people, especially other kids. Plus, I'm in a constant search for other mommy friends, so once we can get a second car we'll be free to explore all we want!