Operation HomeFront

I think this is a great title for what's going on here at our house.  It's been crazy around here. Nothing unusual and actually VERY exciting. Let me share!

Brandon had a BIG birthday last Monday.  He is now the BIG 10! Where does time go? It seems like yesterday he was born.  Such an easy baby… then he hit 10! WOW!



Independent Stampin' Up! Demonstrator Kimberly Van Diepen

Independent Stampin' Up! Demonstrator Kimberly Van Diepen

We only had a few friends over to celebrate.  It was a nice intimate birthday party… but it wasn't going to end without a BANG! I had a surprise so huge I could barely contain my own excitement. I told Brandon that I had ONE more gift but I wasn't sure if it was going to come on time.  Hee Hee Hee Hee!

Around 8pm I received the phone call I'd been waiting for all day.  Russ was 5 minutes away from the house.  The kids were already in their PJ's and working on a new Lego set that Brandon had received.  I went outside to meet Russ in the driveway and to sneak the FIRST kiss.  <WOW>  When he walked inside the kids didn't notice.  The dog on the other hand went crazy!  Russ got behind the couch so the kids didn't see and all of a sudden, Alexis looked up!  She knew something wasn't right because I had my camera in hand. I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story…

Independent Stampin' Up! Demonstrator Kimberly Van Diepen



Independent Stampin' Up! Demonstrator Kimberly Van Diepen


His sweet face… I cried!

What a surprise it was.  I kept thinking to myself… this has only been 6 weeks.  I can't wait to share when the REAL homecoming occurs!

Besides Russ being the BIG surprise, there was one last gift and it was fitting for Russ to give it Brandon. 

Independent Stampin' Up! Demonstrator Kimberly Van Diepen


His very first Pocket Knife!


I pray this little Pocket Knife doesn't mean Emergency Room visits later… Oh geez!

The little I've been able to get into my stamp room I did muster up a little card for my boy!  I really liked it too!

Independent Stampin' Up! Demonstrator Kimberly Van Diepen



Independent Stampin' Up! Demonstrator Kimberly Van Diepen



There are a few products from the Summer Mini, a few die cuts… but overall a pretty simple card.  He thought it was killer and the best part it has the number "10" on it.  It's the little things that make them happy!  I love that.  

My Prince is now on the real part of his journey.  The past 6 weeks have been trying to say the least. The kids and I have learned a lot.  Moving forward we are all taking on new attitudes.  I can see a sparkle in Alexis.  I can see a playful Brandon starting to come back to life. As for me… well… I'll just take one day at a time and lots of deep breaths in between.  It was a gift to see him.  Totally unexpected. We laughed hysterically.  He just gets me and my silliness.  I miss him, but………….

Let the COUNTDOWN begin!


Over the next few days I'm getting my kids ready for a trip of a lifetime.  Thanks to Stampin' Up! they are getting ready to explore Alaska.  They are SO excited. Me too!  I just want to see smiles on their faces and I want the stress of the last month to brush off their backs and relax. I'm going to relax too. 

A few have asked if I'm going to get back to the grind of stamping? Oh, absolutely!  I could NEVER give up my passion for Stampin' Up! Nevah, Evah!  We just needed to get a few things in order around here.  It's taken a little longer than expected but I'm okay with that. Soon, the rubbah will once again be on fire. In the meantime… Thank you! Thank you for still coming back, listening to my never ending soap opera and best of all making me laugh with your comments.  I read EVERY one of them!!!

Most of all, Thank YOU for your amazing support.  WE (yes… the kids too) LOVE YOU!

XOXOXOXO- To the Moon!


  1. Kimberly – What a great Birthday Surprise!!!  It was great reading about it and how cool that Dad got to come home on a special day πŸ™‚  Glad things are going well and you and your family are in my thoughts.  Wish I was going to Alaska (or Florida, or Jamacia or Hawaii…..well you get the idea!!)  Have a wonderful time πŸ™‚
    Gail S. 

  2. Wow! What a great surprise! And he will never, ever forget his 10th birthday! 
    Thank you and Russ and the kids for all your service. I know it's him going "on vacation" but you're all making the sacrifices.
    Have a GREAT time on your cruise!

  3. OMG! Kimberly you had me crying with this post and the pictures of the kids and their Dad, beautiful. The look on your daughter's face is priceless.
    Thanks for sharing this moment with us.
    See you soon!

  4. What a wonderful surprise! It is good to hear that all is going ok. Enjoy your trip! You will have a blast!

  5. Happy birthday to your sweet Brandon…and oh wow!  How wonderful that Russ was able to come home for a night.  Pure happiness and love exude from your post!  We're continuing to pray for your family.  I love your card too!

  6. while i miss your posts and amazing projects i'm glad all is good!  i caught myself smiling while reading this post and pics of the surprise homecoming.  sweet!  hope you have an awesome cruise!! 

  7. Oh Kimberly!  You had me crying again!  Tears of joy this time though!  How wonderful that your husband got to spend a night with you before his 'vacation'.  The look on your daughter's face really says how much she has been missing her Daddy.  I wish you and your kids the best as you head off to Alaska for a much needed break and to your husband as he sets out on a 'vacation' of his own.  Safe travels everyone!

  8. Just can't say it enough how much I love hearing your stories Kimberly.  I think you should write a book in your spare time  cause you are a great writer.
    Your post today made me smile and cry at the same time; the photo of Brandon hugging his Dad – WOW.
    Sure wish the camera was on you and Russ when you stole your first kiss heehee.
    My prayers continue to be with you and your family as The Lord offers his guidance and protection for Russ while away and for you as you manage to keep things going at home. Lean on people around you for help and support because it's a lot of pressure being both parents, the responsibility of home, being taxi mom, homework, and then time for you…make sure you take care of yourself. Take care of You and your will better able to take care of everything else.
    Love Ya Kimberly!

  9. This made me tear up, too!  What a great gift for Brandon (and all of you).  He and my Alex are close in age….LOVE the card you made. 
    Hope you guys have a great time in Alaska!!  Can't wait to see you at Convention.  πŸ™‚

  10. OMG Kimberly – how beautiful.  Your kids will cherish that moment forever.  When I was in Grade 9 my dad was away for the better part of 2 years – he had lost his job in Edmonton and had to live down East as we tried to sell our house.  On the day of my Grade 9 graduation I too was surprised when my moms told me to go into the family room as there was someone here to see me.  It was Dad.  I was so happy I started to cry – and of course at that age I didn't understand why I was crying when I was happy!  I still remember that feeling – you brought it all back to me with your post.  Thank You.  Have a great cruise! 

  11. Those photos are priceless!!!  I'm so happy for you guys and can't wait to see you in only THREE DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Mark is so excited to meet Brandon and I'm excited to meet my little JB fan:)  (and of course give you a squeeze!!!)  See you soon my friend…thanks for the uplifting post that truly reflect who you are…AMAZING!

  12. Oh, I'm so glad you're back and that everything's OK.  What a terrific surprise for Brandon on his birthday and for Alexis and you too. Wonderful pictures!  Have a great trip to Alaska,you will love it; we sure did when we went on that cruise.  Looking forward to more of your amazing stamp creations but in the meantime have a wonderful trip and a relaxing vacation. 

  13. So glad to know that all is well.  I do think of you and your family often.  Isn't it fun to have stamping friends all over the place…many of whom we will never meet?!  I was in tears looking at your pictures of your hubby's short visit home.  What a special time, I'm sure.
    It couldn't have some at a better time.  Sending lots of hugs your way!

  14. I love these pictures!  You make a pregnant mama sniffle over here. πŸ™‚  I'm excited for you guys to play in Alaska … and for that countdown to whittle down. πŸ™‚  Hugs from slc!

  15. I laughed, I cried, I am just in awe! You're strength and talent never seize to amaze me! I wish I could be on the cruise with you, (someday-Lord willing) but want you to know that you are going to have a blast and so are those kiddos!  Love you and can't wait to hear all about Alaska!  (PS-totally going to CASE that card!)

  16. Kimberly, thank you for sharing so much of your life with us.  I am so happy that you and the kids will be able to get away on the cruise and experience such a wonderful part of God's creation together.  Make beautiful memories with your children while you are there!  I love your beautiful creations, but family should always come first, so I will patiently wait for the next inspiration from you.

  17. Egads gal, those pictures brought tears to my eyes!!  How sweet and precious!  I love reading your blog.

  18. I'm super excited about this post; I've been wondering why you were MIA, but I knew it had several reasons to blame; way to go with the home coming; welcome home Russ……you are all special individuals; TFS!!

  19. Kimberly,
    You brought tears to my eyes reading your post tonight! I love how you capture that moment on camera..Alexis face was priceless. I hope you enjoyed your time with your prince.
    I look forward to seeing you on Friday on the cruise!!!!!

  20. You brought tears to my eyes with this post.  I know you've been struggling but I'm glad to hear you are taking the time for your family first.  Enjoy every moment of your cruise and I'm so glad Russ could be home even if for a little while.  Thank you for all the sacrifices you have to make as he serves our country and God Bless Him and you all!

  21. You made me smile, laugh and cry all in the same moment!  You are amazing and you do have an amazing family.  Stay strong, keep those babies in your arms and enjoy as much as you can…..time flies….   Also another big heartfelt THANK YOU to Russ for serving our country and for you and the children enduring the time away.  You are truly a blessing….Can't wait to see Alaskan pictures….it's a truly beautiful and amazing state!!! Lived there for five years….

  22. So now I'm crying, those moments are sooooo precious, and it is sooooo the same here!
    Have fun in Alaska and enjoy every minute of it, ….and tell us all about it when you come back!
    Have a great day

  23. Kimberly  OMGosh this was like a story from Coming Home on Lifetime! How precious and their faces tell it all. I am so happy you all had some private time with him before he goes off. Thank him for us for all he does. Servicemen are really appreciated!!!  I watch Army Wives every Sunday and envy what you girls married to servicemen do! I know it's hard keep in there and you can tell us stories all you want. I for one enjoy reading them. I love the birthday card!!!
    Thanks for sharing  your private life with us!
    Inky Hugs,

  24. Oh Kim, I have tears running down my face as you said those pictures tell it all! Your an amazing Mom and wife not mention a great Stampin' Up! role model. I am so happy that you all got to be together on this very special day. I will continue to keep you in my prayers.
    Thanks for all you do for us here in blogland, we appreciate you and hope your journey is blessed!

  25. What an awesome surprise for all of you!  Definitely brought tears to my eyes!
    Continue to pray for all of you…enjoy your SU! Trip!  You deserve it!
    Hugs, Lisa πŸ™‚

  26. Kimberly, you are becoming quite the photographer. I can't wait to see the pictures you take while on the Alaska cruise. I hope you and your kids have a great time and that you can relax a little. What a whirlwind few weeks you have had. Prayers and thoughts are with your family.

  27. What a great birthday for Brandon… and a great treat for Alexis and YOU.  Have fun in Alaska.

  28. AMAZING!  What an awesome birthday gift for all of you.   I am in tears reading about it!  Have a great trip!

  29. Magical moments happen and best when recorded and shared – thank you for letting us share this magical moment with you and your family!    Know you and the kids will have a fantastic time on the cruise and will be great to see pics and hear how it all went.  Hopefully this will be the beginning of your turn around to getting back to your family normal…as normal as it will be without your Prince (best wishes to him).   Bon Voyage!!! 

  30. What a beautiful story, and what precious precious photos. Thanks for sharing with us and I hope you and your sweet kids have a fantastic time in Alaska and Russ is soon safely home again.

  31. Kimberly, I am always excited to get and read your updates……….this one no exception. You are fortunate to have been blessed with finding that "great love" everyone hopes for………and two beautiful and amazing children. How extra special Russ was able to get home to see you all and share in such a big day! I'm sure the time ahead will have it's challenges, but I know you'll meet them head on. Thank you as always, for sharing your great talent, in cards, creations and most special pictures and times in your lives…..it makes us all feel like we are a part of your family.
    Have a terrific time on your cruise. With prayers for you all, God Bless!!.

  32. I thought I'd stop by since I hadn't had an alert from your site in a while.  What a sweet treat.  I LOVE the pictures–precious and I'm SO GLAD Russ made it back for one quick trip and what a special birthday for Brandon.  πŸ™‚  Thanks so much for sharing.  Take care, and I'm thinking about you all.  Have a wonderful and relaxing cruise!

  33. Kimberly:  I am so amazed each time I get a glimpse at the love in your family.  Bless you all, and I am so thrilled that Russ could be there for your son's special day!  I hope you have a wonderful cruise!  wishing you the best!

  34. Oh my gosh what a great post!  I cried, and I'm not a crier.  I remember being in 6th grade and my dad (in the Army at the time) coming home from a year in South Korea.  I'm sooooo glad y'all got some time together!

  35. I don't write often (have I ever?).  I read your blog all the time but mostly just in one mass sitting.  I just started sobbing when I read about the wonderful BD gift.  DH asked me what is wrong.  I could only sob "Russ came home!!"  He rolled his eyes since he doesn't have a clue what I am talking about.  Anyway, thank you so much for sharing this with us.  I pray for him and your family.
    Carey Rogers
    aka Roscoe's mommy

  36. I cannot believe you managed to get a shot of the surprised look on your daughter's face! Such a sweet moment and thank you so much for sharing it with us. Many prayers for the continued strength for your family…and thank you for the sacrifice you are all making.
    Best Wishes

Leave a Reply