Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Father Knows Best

On the highway going toward base, there is a motorcycle training course with jumps, ramps, even a bin full of foam and sponges to learn how jump without hurting the rider. (Evidently, the guy that grew up there is on on the pro circuit now.)

ANYWAY, the point is, that every time we drive by there, my youngest son must curtail his coveting and wipe the drool from his face. He talks about how cool it would be to try to jump his bike off these ramps and how it would be really cool if the famlily would open it to "boys with bikes that want to fly."

Jaden's nickname is not "Danger Boy" without reason.

We were coming back from Mass the other day, and of course, the boy starts dreaming. Again. "That would be SO cool!" he exclaims. "I just wish they would let me try it," he sighs.

Then a hopeful, "Dad, will you build me a ramp like that? But for bikes?"

Without missing a beat Chuck responds, "We don't live close enough to a hospital, son."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Overheard from the back seat, after Craig's TB shot, as the boys are examining the "bump" on his arm:

"Cool! Can I flick it?"

Monday, August 10, 2009

Missoula Children's Theater '09

The boys had a great time participating in the Missoula Children's Theater production of Cinderella last week. If you are not familiar with this program, it only takes ONE week to turn out a pretty good little program. Craig was a Town Crier and Jaden was Fido the dog. Both did a good job, and look forward to another play in a year.

Here are some pics:

Conversation With a Boy

I was walking through the garage this morning, and noticed the garbage sitting by the door that needed to be taken to the street can. I said to Jaden, "Oh yeah, Daddy wanted you to take that out!"

Jaden, in an exasperated tone, "I thought I just DID take that out!"

Without a pause (because this is my life) I retorted, "Well obviously's still there."

Did he think, that by saying he thought he already had, that by some genius stroke of luck, it would be ME that was crazy and there really never was a bag of garbage sitting there?!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Take Five Friday

1. I have had three people in the past two days ask me what is up with my blog, why I haven't been updating. I apologize. And trust me when I say I am doing you a favor: Do you REALLY want to hear me say, "It's really hot and dry here and we don't really like it so far..." every single day? I didn't think so!

2. It HAS been really hot and dry here. Like 100 and up for a month. We have cabin fever, only in the summer instead of the winter. We have only had one vehicle since we have been here, which has presented some logistical issues.

3. We live five miles off base, but then Chuck has another 10 miles across base to his actual work place. Not all that easy to zip home if we need the car, and the prospect of getting up at 0500 to take him wasn't all that appealing, either. If, you look up the definition of "morning person" in the dictionary, MY picture will NOT be there!

So, this week, we finally got a second vehicle. It's a pretty nice little pick-up, a 2000 Ford Ranger, super cab, that will do well on gas AND haul our camping stuff. We're all pretty exicted. Me especially since, "I got my car back! I. got. my. car. back!" I sing as I do my happy dance.

4. Chuck and I FINALLY went on a date last Saturday. We went to lunch and movie and had uninterrupted adult conversation! It was REALLY nice. Between trying to get settled and his work schedule, this was a much needed respite. AND we found a sitter that actually interacted with the boys, played games, the house wasn't trashed when we got home and the boys loved her. THAT is a big bonus!

5. We went to a membership appreciation dinner at the club on base and they were giving away FREE (nice) backpacks loaded with school supplies to the kids. I was SO excited...that stuff adds up! I jokingly say that we spend their college tuition on school supplies, events, fund raisers and projects, so I am NOT too proud to take anything free!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Small Successes


1- I planned the week's menu and went grocery shopping WITH A LIST for the first time since we've moved.

2- I found spots for the boys at the youth center so that I can go to a spouse briefing on base tomorrow.

3- I am making a concerted effort to "find the beauty" in a rather ugly, dry, and dead looking geographical area. It's amazing what really is there when once chooses to change their focus.(Kind of like life, sometimes, right?!)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Small Successes


It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that.

1- I am NOT letting myself get crazy (or driving everyone else there in the process) about the last few "loose ends" that need to be done around here post-move. So there are a couple of boxes and pics without homes hanging out in our bedroom. The world hasn't stopped, and I am kind of surprised at how laid back I've been about this. If you knew me in real life, you'd totally be applauding right now!

2- I have only partially planned a trip to San Francisco-Pier 39 on Saturday. I am just going with the flow for the rest of it. Do you see a theme's been a peaceful week in these parts!

3- I have chosen a recipe and have a list made of things I need to get for a dish I am making and taking to Family Home Rosary Group tomorrow night!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Reason #629 why we are glad Chuck is home: Chuck's homemade pizzas for family movie night!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

About Michael Jackson

While I am praying for his soul and his true friends and family (especially his children), I can't watch tv anymore! Can't stand the hypocrisy of the media! For decades all people have done is slam the man, drag his name through the dirt, etc. ( with or without just cause). Now he's something to celebrate?! No, he's just another way to get ratings.

He was a very talented artist, there is no denying that. But WHERE were all of these 'friends' and 'fans' as he struggled through life?

I'd like to see just 1% of this 'respect' and media attention given to the real heroes that die for our freedom in our country."

For the Sake of Honesty (or Post-Move Adjustment Disorder)

I haven't been saying a lot, because, well, I've not been in an all uplifting and cheerful mood. Moving is hard on me. I don't like leaving friends (and in this case, family) behind, I don't like having to learn the ins and outs of a new area, when I just figured out what works at the last place. Meeting new people is hard for me. I know that sounds weird, but that small talk one has to do to get to know one better wears me out. I tend to like maintaining fewer, yet deeper, relationships, the ones who know me, all of me, and love me anyway. I'm not a good military wife when I admit these things, just honest.

Since Chuck and I have married (and I was married to him BEFORE he joined the AF, so I can say these things), we have moved EIGHT times in 15 years. It was fun at first. Exciting to see new places and meet new people. We have lived in some awesome places and have seen amazing things and have made great friends, for which I am very grateful. But I am tired of it now. This move has been especially challenging because we only have one car right now, it is 15 miles to Chuck's work and so, we are kind of stuck most days. It has been EXTREMELY hot (in the hundreds), so the boys haven't gotten out to play much, have hardly even seen other kids their age. The area is dead and yellow looking, like a straw field in the fall, needing to be harvested. And even if transportation wasn't an issue, there is still nowhere within 20 minutes that has daily mass, and those are at times like 0600.

At this point, the physical landscape surrounding our new home is the perfect picture of what I am experiencing emotionally, and worse, spiritually.

I am trying hard to buck up. I am trying hard to do my duty. I know there is a transition period that we go through after each move, and this too shall pass.

I am glad to have my husband back from Korea. I am SO grateful that he has a job that supports us in this bad economy. That is a huge gift in itself. And I never take our good health for granted.

God promises, "My grace is sufficient for you..." And thank God for that, because sometimes in life, it is the only thing that carries us through.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

July Fourth Fun

Water Balloon Fight

Craig- What a Perfect Shot
Jaden- He's in there somewhere!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Take Five Friday: The Travel Edition Vol. 2

Okay, I don't have to say it again: I've been neglecting my blog duties. (Are they duties if they are self-imposed?) Without listing the 100 reasons why I haven't been blogging, I'll just get on with it and finish up this travel log, so that we can all just move on already!

Take 1 (Day 3): Nebraska into Wyoming

This travel day turned out to be pretty uneventful. The cat was surely onto us by now, and Chuck had to completely lift the mattresses to get to Calamity for her meds, daily kenneling. This time, the foam Nerf sword we packed for such an occasion was futile. Highlights were crossing into the mountain time zone, showing the boys that you really DO cross the Platte River several times across Nebraska (6 to be exact) and getting into Wyoming at a good time.

Take 2 (Day 4): Wyoming

We were able to stay with my parents in Cheyenne. Accommodations were great and the food even better. The boys got to spend some good time with Mema and Papa, they enjoyed their dogs and the view of the many antelope and babies from their backyard. The boys got to make Wyoming Winds smelly jellies with Papa for their rooms, and even and extra for our new home. (The pumpkin crunch is really nice). We got to spend time with my brothers and we had a nice dinner both nights. We really enjoyed our time here, it was a nice respite and we hadn't seen them in a while.

One of the highlights for me here was catching up with one of my old friends, Jill, in person. She was the Maid of Honor in our wedding, and I haven't seen her since our 10 year high school reunion. (No, I won't say how long it's been SINCE then!) We did lunch with my mom and her husband, Ben (the guy from the rocking horse pic), and then she showed me Element Church where she is actively involved. They do a lot of great community outreach programs; I scored a little postcard advertising one of their upcoming programs that had a picture of *gasp* Kool-aid with no pants! The scandal!

Take 3 (Day 5): Wyoming and Utah

I was amazed to see how green Wyoming was as we travelled across the state. Honestly, I can't remember EVER seeing that much lush vegetation that wasn't in the mountains of Wyoming. I had been telling the boys how brown it was, but I'm okay that God made a liar out of me. It was a pretty drive.

However, there was funky smell coming from the back seat that would NOT go away. The boys said that it was coming from the cat crate (which was wedged between them on the backseat). We thought that maybe she had gotten sick again, she'd been howling and thumping around. Calamity decided that she had ENOUGH of this travel business and showed us her frustration by peeing on her bed and then flipping it upside down to try to bury the smell. It didn't work. Do you have a cat? Then you know the overwhelming, breathtaking (not in a good way) odor of cat pee. If you don't have a cat, trust me on this, it's comparable to the worst diapers I changed when the boys were little.

Thankfully, we had smelly jellies! However, a bad pungent odor masked by a just made smelly jelly in a car around the mountain passes of Park City is NOT a good idea. It made Craig nauseous and so the smelly jelly had to be capped off so that we were only dealing with one smell, breathing through our mouths, trying not to taste the stanky cloud of funk eminating from the crate. (The Pumpkin Crunch smelly jelly is a nice smell, don't get me wrong, just not mixed with cat pee!)

We got through Utah quickly, but then, we got to our night's stay in Wendover. The nicer places to stay don't allow pets, so let me just say that if you are travelling I-80 with animals, stay in Park City or SLC. The first room had umm, stains on the comforter. The second room had a door to an adjacent room that couldn't be locked. The third wasn't much better, but by this point, we were tired, cranky and just decided to suck it up.

We got our revenge though, by leaving the not-so-fresh cat bed behind in the hallway for garbage collection. It reminded me of the scene in National Lampoon's Vacation where Clark Griswold had just "cashed a check" at the hotel and rushed his family away from the Grand Canyon before anyone found the evidence or him. Good times, good times!

Take 4 (Day 6): Nevada into California

It took us 30 seconds to cross the state line into Nevada. Nevada along I-80 has NOTHING. Tons of sage brush, but for hundreds and hundreds of miles: nothing. Every once in a while, there would be a rest stop to give you hope. It was like being in the Twilight Zone, where you drive and drive and nothing changes! I don't know how pioneers in the wagon trains EVER got through this point. Every once in a while, we'd see a house out in the middle of nowhere. It was strange; we thought, did they just give up?! Did they decide the just couldn't go on and well, heck, just build here because insanity had overtaken them?!

And, another Vacation moment brought to you buy Jaden: peeing on the side of the road because in the words of Clark Griswold, "You see a gas station every 100 yards until you NEED one!" Or, in this case, a rest stop. It was that, or the kid used an empty water bottle in the back seat of the car. We'd had enough of pee in the car the day before, thanks!

Finally, we got through Nevada, into California, through the weird border patrol CA has between CA and bordering states, over the mountains, past Tahoe (which was a REALLY nice drive except the construction), and another hour or two down the mountains to FINALLY reach Beale!

Take 5 (Day 6-Same Day): It is dry and yellow. I wondered what happened to the green. Craig made a comment about wanting to go back to Ohio. Jaden said the dryness reminded him of dead things. I sat quietly, reminding myself not to judge a book by its cover, that God has a plan, and that this might be a good assignment yet!

We got to lodging on base, and they informed us that our room (that had been reserved in February) was not ready, and could we just go drive around for a while until it was ready? I thought, "Sure, why not, I mean, we haven't been in the car for FIVE DAYS, with two boys, a dog and a cat, in a smallish car, and NINE HOURS today. We'll really LOVE being in the car for even longer!" My patient and kinder-than-I husband did tell them all this, just in a much nicer way than I would. We drove around for an hour or so, went back, and it STILL was not ready. At this point, it was 5PM and I'd had ENOUGH. I went in this time, and kindly plead the crazy wife/mom story and PLEASE if you do not have our room ready soon, that the two boys and the dog and cat that are stuck in this car will come and hang out here, in the lobby. The room was ready in less than 30 minutes. I was nice (really, I was), but sometimes, a little bit of crazy thrown in has its effects.

Maybe that's why it's taken me so long to write about this: it's taken a bit for the craziness to wear off!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Backyard at Sunset

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Our New Home

Friday, June 12, 2009

Take Five Friday: The Road Trip Edition Vol 1

I didn't keep up with the blogging as I intended this week. By the time we got settled into the hotels, ate dinner and other travel "fun", I was just too mentally done to write anything coherent. What is it about sitting in a car 8 or more hours a day that just exhausts you? Anyway, we are in California now, so I'll give the highlights of each day.

Take (Day) One: Ohio, Indiana and Illinois

We were on the road by 0900, saying good-bye to family for the last time in a while. It was a blessing to be able to live near family over this past year and hard to say good-bye. But away we went, in our car packed to the max with only room to breathe. The cat was in her crate wedged between the boys on the back seat, the dog on the floor and various forms of entertainment squished into any little holes and gaps. Whenever we stopped and the the doors opened, we would come spilling out like the clown car at the circus. The trunk was packed so full, it was like the trick "can-o-snakes" where everything would come springing out when the trunk was released, and sometimes require strong bodily force to get it closed again!

About the cat: the first day she was given a pill, she didn't really know what happened. Craig held her and Chuck tilted her head back, opening her mouth so she resembled a kitty Pez dispenser. She got the pill, and before she knew what was being done, it was done. No hiding, no clawing, no drama. She just shook her head like, "What the heck just happened?!"

The boys did well, the traffic was good, the cat sedated (enough); it was a good travel day. We stayed in a place in western Illinois that was very clean, nice, had an indoor pool, etc. It was located in Farm Town USA, which means it was smaller than the town I lived growing up in Wyoming. There was one restaurant, which did not take debit or credit and was patronized by the "Who the Heck are these Strangers in our Town?" club. I guess the staring wasn't necessarily rude, just curious. Honestly though, this town is right on I-80, do they not get a lot of strangers in their town?

It gave me hope that maybe we COULD make it 2231 miles. But I kept in mind that it was only day one!

Take (Day) Two: Iowa into Nebraska

We were supposed to go to Mass in Farm Town, but the Weather Channel was talking about all of these horrible storms in the area and how it was going to be very bad all day, all the way across Iowa. We were concerned we'd get stuck someplace or have to drive very, very slowly and that our 5 hour day would turn into something really, really long. It's happened to us, on the way from NC to OH: it took us almost 5 hours to get from the southern border of Ohio up to Cleveland, when it normally only take about 2 - 2 1/2 hours. There was horrible rain, wind, hail and at times we would all be pulled over on the side of the road waiting for better conditions. So, we decided to get the heck out of Dodge, drove 20 minutes, and come to find out, the Weather Channel lied and the worst weather we had all day was that which was at our hotel.

(Remember when Katrina hit and everyone asked why people didn't evacuate? It's because the news ramps things up so much to get ratings, that people don't believe them anymore. It's not just TWC that I've seen this trend, either.)

So, this time, Calamity (the cat)was onto Chuck and his pillsy ways: she was hiding under the bed. Not wanting to go back to the car for the Kitty Displacement Tool (the Nerf Foam Sword), he lifted the mattress while Craig crawled back and grabbed the kitty. She was not happy, but was out-muscled and before she could get her claws out, she'd already been given the pill.

We drove the five hours, in mostly dry weather and got to our next stop in NE way too early. We had planned a shorter driving day to allow us time to get to Mass, but TWC foiled our plans. The hotel on the second night had been recently renovated, and while it too, was nice, with very comfortable beds, our room was a non-smoking room formerly known as smoking. Why do places think that people can't smell this? Anyway, the room was fine, the pool good and the dinner at Cracker Barrel down the street very tasty.

Day two was fairly uneventful, other than a little guilt for missing Mass, I was counting the blessings of our trip so far. Jaden and I had a fun time pointing out the old style silos to each other. When Chuck commented on how flat Iowa was, I just giggled to myself. Just wait until we hit Nebraska!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

NOT a Good Sign

I was backing out of the garage today and I snapped the driver's side mirror casing on the edge of the door frame. All I heard was a *POP*; the mirror casing was gone. I got out of the car, found the part in three pieces, popped open the trunk and placed the pieces in there as a nice little welcome home gift for Chuck.

Of course the neighbors were out in their back yard enjoying a picnic dinner. Why do there always have to be people around to see these things? What must THEY have been thinking?!

The boys were VERY quiet on the way to the gas station. They were very quiet while we were there. And they were strangely quiet on the way home. Until we pulled into the driveway. As we approached the garage, Jaden says, "Careful, Mom, careful! Slowly...slowly. You're doing good." As I put the car into park, applause erupted from the back seat. "Good job, Mommy! You did it!"

Craig wanted to know, "Well, how much is THAT going to cost ya'?!"

Smart alecs.

In fairness to me, the garage is very, very tight, and I had a million things going on in my mind not to mention the boys bickering in the back seat. I have backed out of same garage probably 3,000 times this past year, no problem. The day before Chuck gets home and the week we are packing out the house, and preparing to embark on The Road Trip (TRT), I smack the mirror.

*SIGH* Welcome home honey! There's a little something for you in the trunk. The first on a list of things that has to be fixed...

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Road Ready

Well, the blog is road ready for the occasional update of our travels and adventure cross country! Postings may be sporadic, we pack out this coming week and then drive the next. If you see a car driving down the highway with someone duct taped to the roof, smile, wave, and pray... it's just us!

By the way, I have a hundred other things I "should" be doing, but it's all about priorities, right?!

Take Five Fridays (on Saturday)

So, I'm a day late with this. At least I don't have to add I'm a dollar short, because blogging is free. And since I am the boss of me in the blogosphere, I can cut myself some slack with the deadlines;-)

Take One

Memorial Day turned out to be a beautiful, perfect sunny day. 75 degrees, a small parade, visiting the graves of family members passed on and a stop at an ice cream place that I went to when I was a little girl. Being a military family, we don't get a lot of opportunities to say to the boys, "I came here when I was little" or "I did this here when I was your age". Being in Ohio for the year has presented more than one opportunity for sharing those experiences with the boys.

Take Two

I haven't been sleeping very well these past couple of weeks. There is a whole range of emotions mixed from pure joy and excitement that Chuck will be home soon, to being a bit overwhelmed with everything that has to be done along with the frustration of the fall out of the boys being upset about leaving. Jaden's teacher caught me after school yesterday and mentioned that Jaden had been a "little restless and off" these past couple of weeks. (I know, I deal with it at home, too.) She said she thought that maybe he was just excited about his dad coming home. I told her that was part of it, but that he was also having a hard time leaving here, his friends, his little world here that he's come to love. She goes on to say, "Well, his grades aren't going to be quite as good as they have been in the past grading periods, just so you know." What I said: "Well, I kind of expected as much. Thanks for the heads up. I've kind of had to pick my battles with him this past month." What I thought, "Geez, lady, the kid is 8. He's a second grader, not trying to get a scholarship to Harvard. Can we evaluate the big picture here." As long as he's moving on to the third grade, I don't think it matters that he got an S instead of an S+. *SIGH*

Take Three

Because of the above mentioned sleep deprivation, I have been treating myself to a vanilla latte at McD's a couple of times a week. So, yesterday, I go to get my latte, and because they do these punch cards, I got one for free. That is a great start to a day, don't you think?!

Take Four

Danger Boy Story: I heard suspicious thumping upstairs when the boys were supposed to be in bed. I went to investigate, and there is Jaden, with the top half of his window down, head out, watching the neighbors setting up for a garage sale in their driveway and talking to a friend two doors down.

Mother Alarm goes off: "Danger, Danger!" I ask him what he is doing? Tell him he's not supposed to open his window like that, not lean out the window because he could fall out and splat to the ground and die. (Yes, harsh. When you have a Danger Boy, you have to speak their language.) He tells me that he was hot. I ask him why he has jeans and a sweat shirt on over his jammies. He tells me he didn't want anyone to see him in his jammies. Ummm, do you see what I am up against here? When I told him he was in trouble for being out of bed and hanging out the window, he tried to argue, "Well, you never said I couldn't 'look' out the window. You never told me I wasn't allowed to put down the top half." Remember that post I had about "specifics" and "detailed" directives? Here is another reason why! They act like they have no common sense sometimes. Maybe this one has a good future in the military or politics!

Take Five

I still have quite a bit to do to get things ready for the move. A few smallish things in the house won't take that long, but there is also yard work that needs to be done. Mainly, the helicopters from the tree in the back yard need to be cleaned from the gutter and the flower beds need to be weeded and raked. It's been either raining buckets or a soggy, wet mess out there since Wednesday. I barely got the lawn mowed this week. Now it's Saturday and the boys are playing with friends "their last weekend here" they keep telling each other and their friends. To get them back into work mode after being cooped in the house all week is a battle I don't feel up to, yet. Maybe later, maybe tomorrow. It IS their last weekend here.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that.

1- I finally cashed in the "Can-O-Change" that has been sitting on the counter since we moved. I made enough to buy seven travel cat boxes and the dog food!

2- I replaced the ant traps, even though they should have been still working, ants were taking over our counter tops by the sink. This morning, I only saw one lone ant by the sink. I only have to fool them one more week, then they can take over.

3- I made arrangements with the landlady to just take the money from our deposit to have the carpets cleaned after we leave. Now we don't have to spend an extra hour or two cleaning carpets (when we've had to wait all day for them to load our stuff on the truck) and then the logistical hassle of going to pick up and take back the cleaner. We might actually get to spend the last evening here with the family!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

At Cedar Point, in the stockades: the only way I can keep them in line...for at least a minute or two!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Things I Thought I'd Never Say #528

"Put the door knob back into the door!" said the frustrated mother to smirking boy, "You are NOT going to lock your brother in the basement!"

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Test Drive

We took the animals to the vet today to get their records, clean bills of health, and ahem, sedatives for Calamity.

Don't judge. One car, two adults, two kids, a dog, a cat (that meows non-stop in the car) and 2331 miles!

Anyhoo, on this test drive I learned:

That Calamity still senses when she has to go somewhere and will hide. Under a bed. No amount of coaxing will get her out. Craig had to resort to gently nudging her with a foam nerf sword and then risked major lacerations while shoving her in the crate.

That the cat still meows while driving.

The boys will fight non-stop.

That the dog rides in the car really well, but still acts like a banshee with no home training once we get to the destination.

That the boys will fight non-stop.

That both animals got a clean bill of health, and sedatives for the cat. Though, she was calm at the vet. The dog hyper. The vet must have thought we had our animals confused.

That the boys will have the "You're not the boss of me!" discussion. A lot!

That they gave us pills and part of Chuck's retribution for being gone this past year will be to give the cat those pills. After he chases her out from under the bed.

That the boys will fight non-stop.

That maybe we should pack the foam sword!

That the boys will fight non-stop.

And if Chuck can't get the cat to take her pills, I'LL borrow them!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Take Five Fridays

Take One

This has been a weird week. As I've said all along, I got way ahead of myself in getting the house ready for the move, which isn't really such a bad thing, is it? But NOW since everything but the absolute last minute stuff has to wait until, well, the absolute last minute, things are kind of in a holding pattern. Just kind of circling the city, waiting for the landing, which we will be quite literally in nine days! Nine days! I can say DAYS! to refer to when Chuck will be home!

This is a bittersweet time for me and the boys. I like living in Ohio, I like the seasons and being near family, the things to do. However, for me, nothing is better than being with Chuck, no matter where in the world we might be.

The boys on the other hand, are having a harder time with this move than past moves. I always thought in the past, that it was harder on them, and logistically it was. They are getting older now, have their own friends and things to do, they love the neighbor kids, love the area, and aren't so sure about what will be offered at the next place we will call home. Even when we don't move for a while, in a military community, friends come and go all the time, and it gets old. I can't make promises that they'll make good friends again, about what will or won't be offered, what their schools are like, what the new faith community will have,etc. The best thing I can say is that each place is it's own, with both good and bad and it is the next adventure that we will take on: together!

Take Two

Tonight we were eating dinner and Jaden was squatting on the chair and leaning over the table vs. sitting on his pockets eating like a gentleman. I reminded him a couple of time to "Sit on your pockets". He would, but soon enough, he'd be right back up again.

I told him, "God gave you legs for walking, and a hiney for sitting. So why are you sitting on your legs?"

"Well, Mom," he responded, "I really don't have a hiney." (He doesn't, the kid's all bone and muscle.) What can I say to that?! Of course, I did, but I really had to compose myself to be able to finish out the "reminder".

Take Three

I saw a guy the other day backing into a parking space at Walmart. I have noticed this "trend" in quite a few places lately, and thought maybe some were just "pulling through", which may be the case. However, I have seen a few people doing this. Why? Are they trying to beat everyone out? Look, buddy, there isn't going to be a mad rush where everyone leaves the store at once and you will have to sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic for hours. It's Walmart at 0930 on a Tuesday morning, not an amusement park at closing time!

Take Four

Before school, I asked Jaden to pick up the Cheerios gone AWOL off the kitchen floor. He called the dog and Bumbles went to work. "Great snack!" the dog's thinking as he happily wags his tail. Jaden goes on to tell me: "One more reason I really like dogs is because they make great vacuums. They are cordless, can go anywhere, can find every crumb, and they do a good job!"

While I would have bent down to pick up the renegade Cheerios, I can't argue with the boy's logic. Who needs Roomba, we have Bumbles!

Take Five

Last but not least, let us all remember why we celebrate this long weekend. (For those lucky enough to have it off.) Remember those who have served and died for this country, for those still serving all over the world, often in harm's way and without family. It is because of our heroes that we can live our lives in a country that knows a freedom people in other countries can only dream about.

And of course we think of those in our own lives that we have lost and still love in our hearts and memories. Please join me in prayer on Monday (and every day) for those we have lost, their families, and for those currently serving in the armed forces of the United States.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Small Successes


It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that.

1-I got the whole house cleaned for a showing in one day. My whole house was clean at the same time! For about 12 hours.

2-I did NOT yell at my son when I discovered his bed contained the beginnings for a new landfill.

3-We have been eating whatever is left in the fridge and pantry, so that we don't have to move as much food. I look like old Mother Hubbard. We've had some strange combos and things for dinner, AND I haven't succumbed to the temptation to eat out.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

It's hard to believe that one year ago this past weekend we were having an awesome time at Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio!

What we rode for a midday break from the coasters:

A bird's eye view of Lake Erie:

And a small section of the park:

Jaden seemed pretty happy up there!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Packrat

One of the boys (who is 12 now) has always had a packrat tendency. It drives me bonkers, but I have tried to find the balance of respecting his space and my neat freak issues. On a side note, I read a study that says that for people like Craig (oops, did I mention his name?!), having that "stuff" in sight and around them makes them feel comfortable and happy. Clutter to the "Stuff" people creates that serene feeling that clean and organized spaces do for those of us in the "A Place for Everything" club. So, I've tried backing off a bit, and he's gotten a little better at keeping his "clutter" under control.

Or so I thought.

He's really just gotten more creative with his hiding places. They were showing our house yesterday, and I reminded the boys to be sure their beds were made. Of course I went in later to double check everything. Jaden's bed wasn't even made (what was he doing up there?) and Craig's was made, but had a few lumps. Well, I decided to be nice and "smooth out the sheet" for him, because I thought that was the problem. I flipped back the comforter and...ummm, well, let's just say that it's a VERY good thing he was at school at the time and I had time to defuse before he came home. It WASN'T the sheet that was causing the lumps. What WAS causing the lumps:

THREE pairs of jammie bottoms
One dirty sock
Two used kleenex
Two books, one quite large
One Lego guy (of course, I mean really, only ONE?!)
One water bottle cap
THREE Smiley (fruit snack) wrappers
One granola bar wrapper
AND (this one takes the cake) a smashed up Diet Coke can

We'll set aside that I JUST cleaned his room not two weeks ago. We'll set aside that they are not supposed to have food in their rooms, only water. WHEN is he accessing these snacks? Why did he think it was okay to take one of my pops? It is rare that they are allowed to have caffeinated drinks, so what made him think this was okay, let alone to take without asking?!

Did I mention that his dad will be home in two weeks?

Craig's is very lucky Chuck has the camera, or I would have taken a picture as evidence for sure...and shown them to ALL of his future girlfriends!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Memory Lane Monday

Since the past couple of trips down Memory Lane have been a bit sad, I thought we'd lighten things up a bit for today's stroll. When I saw this, it brought back many, many memories. Presenting: The Bouncy, Rocking Horse on Springs from the seventies and eighties!

Do you remember these things?! I had completely forgotten about ours, but when I saw this picture, it brought back happy (and sometimes painful) times! As a younger kid, you just kind of sat there and rocked and bounced and well, basically used the toy the way it was intended. At one time or another (depending on which show or book I might have watched or read recently)this plastic on springs was a steed for Laura Ingalls from Little House, Little Joe from Bonanza, Alec from The Black Stallion or a race horse in the Kentucky Derby. That was just in my little mind, I have no idea what kind of adventures my brothers might have had.

When we got a little bigger, the poor horse was pushed to the limit. We'd like to see how far you could stretch the springs. Those springs wouldn't cut today's "safety standards" but we were tough back then! If you wanted to be a jockey you could put your feet up on the little crossbars, but not too far over or you'd get pinched! Ahh yes the pinching springs: not one kid that rode these horses went without the pinch. Sometimes it was your fingers, sometimes your legs; it HURT and it left a nasty little purple welt. But, you'd suck it up and keep on going because A) if you got off, someone else would get on and B) they were just battle scars, proof of a seasoned rider!

Another fun game was rocking the horse so hard that the nose would touch the floor going forward and the tail going back. This definitely tested the springs. Sometimes you'd get going a little too well and *THWUNK* the spring would sproing, and the horse would come crashing down seizing all motion in mid-ride. If lucky, the rider catapulted across the room, cowboy-rodeo style, landing somewhere beyond the frames that supported the horse. More often however, the rider would just be slammed into the metal frame of death (which *GASP* had no foam padding), smacked down to the floor like an early version of WWF. And you would probably get caught in the springs on the way down as well, for that one added little "pinch" for fun.

But we were tough. We'd press on. And we knew not to complain or cry too much because then Mom or Dad would just lecture us about the proper care and riding of plastic horses. No, no lawsuit back then; parents knew that kids did dumb things. To sue the plastic horse people would have been like suing the caveman for inventing fire because your kid burnt himself poking the campfire with sticks. It may not have been a safer world back then, but it was a lot better!

*** A special thank-you goes out to Ben Roberts for lending me this picture (he's the cute kid on the horse in high 70's fashion). He is my friend Jill's husband, (she was the Maid of Honor at our wedding almost 15 years ago). Bet you guys never thought sharing this pic would become someone's blog fodder!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Puppy Love

About the stinky dog, Bumbles:

Jaden: "Mom, Bumbles is smiling at you."

Tired Mom (patting the dog's head): "Peewww, he's a stinky dog!"

Jaden: "Well, I don't care about his stinky, I just care about his love."


I have spent the last 48 Saturday mornings woken up to the sound of the boys practicing their "brotherly love" downstairs. I'm not a morning person anyway, though sleeping in around here is MAYBE 0900. Waking up to that is not a good way to start a weekend. I have taken to just lying there in my bed, hunkered under the blankets, too afraid to enter the pit of antagonism.

So, this morning, when there was a knocking on my door, my instant reactive thought was, "Oooh, who's doing what now? Can't they just get along?" I said, "What?" preparing to hear the latest infraction that has ended the world, or at least my peaceful slumber. But when I opened the door, there was Jaden standing there, face full of pride and accomplishment as he presented me with his finished poster (which looked really nice by the way) for his upcoming social studies project. I was thrilled to say the least. I was expecting a bit of a battle with this project, at the very least some major prodding on my part. THIS is the Jaden I know. The organized, responsible, helpful and happy-go-lucky kid. This Jaden has been a bit elusive at times over this past year. What a wonderful gift! I am so proud of him: for taking the responsibility for his project, for doing it without a fight and for starting off this weekend really, really well!

Then this afternoon, I get a "letter" in the mail from Craig's school. "Uhhh,'s not time for grades, what now?!" was (again) my pessimistic thought. I opened it and read:

"Dear Parents, You can be very proud of the academic accomplishments of your child. We wish to honor you and your outstanding student at an Honors Reception on Monday, June 1, 2009, at 7:00 PM."

It goes on, but what a great honor to watch your child work so hard to achieve what he has this year, to maintain good grades as well as be a good friend and person, especially with his dad gone, a move and sickness and death in the family in the past two years).

The best thing about this: Chuck will be home (God willing) in plenty of time June 1 to see his son receive this award!

(Sorry this is braggy, but hey, it's my blog!) There is a bigger lesson here than education and rewards, it's about MY attitude I get as a parent sometimes. I haven't allowed them off the hook because their dad is gone and it is has been REALLY challenging most days, especially with no back up! In the quest to have children that turn out as productive adults (and we all have different ideas of "productive"); I sometimes get so focused on correction and discipline and everything they don't do right, that I forget to see the wonderful things they do, the good friends they are, the great helpers they are, how kind they are to elderly people, how they can have intelligent conversations with anyone of any age they meet, etc.

I need to change my outlook back to seeing the good things they do, to acknowledge the wonderful people these boys are becoming, in spite of me! If they turn out well at all, it isn't because of anything I have done except pray: for me to be the mother they need, and for them to grow to know and love and serve the Lord; and for all of us to have the grace to get there, one day at a time!

Friday, May 15, 2009


Jaden, after running out to the car for library books: "Shew! I made it without being pooped on!"

Would this be a part of PTPD: Post Tramatic Poop Disorder?

What are the Odds?

We had to run a quick errand for milk and I called Jaden inside. He came in and said, "Mom, look at my hair! Is there bird poop? I think I felt something wet fall on me."

I looked, in the dim light that is our house in the evening, and saw nothing.

But when we were standing at the check-out line, I DID notice a "suspicious" wet spot in his hair, only, now it was crusty. I probably should have waited to tell the poor guy until we got home. He said, "WHAT are the chances? I mean, how often does this happen to people, especially people like me that wear bike helmets most of the time? Oooh, that's SO gross!"

Craig, the ever so loving big brother told him, "Well, now your hair matches your attitude lately!"

And now, bless his heart, I can hear the poor little guy in the shower: "Eww! Eww! It's stuck...that's SO gross!"

He just stuck his head out the door. "Mom, I got it...but you might want to buy a new comb!"

Take Five Fridays

1- I have a lot of the initial stuff done for this move. I am ahead of where I usually am at this point. I don't usually like to deep clean and purge too far in advance because then I have to maintain or do it all again and I make myself and everyone else that lives with me crazy in the process. (It's not happening yet, but the few days before Chuck arrives, I am sure I will at my best!)

2-I am sad to leave here. It has been nice living near family and having four real seasons again. Jaden mentioned that he loves the seasons here, and how even having to shovel all that snow was worth it for the other three seasons here. I have to say, I totally agree.

3-BUT I am SO VERY excited that Chuck will be home in 16 days!!! I will be so happy to have our family back together again. It's been a hard year. It's been hard for me, missing my husband, but to watch your kids miss their dad is even harder. And the boys are acting, well, like 8 and 12 year old boys who know there is really not much their dad can do over the phone. While he was home over the holidays, he would just have to look at the boys and they got it together. I don't know what happened to "it"...maybe it's in Korea, too. And they pick/poke and antagonize each other to the point where it antagonizes me! They go as far as putting their pointer finger an INCH away from the "victim" and say, "I'm not touching you! I'm not touching you!" They have argued about whether it is partly sunny or partly cloudy. I am not kidding. And now you understand my "concern" about this cross-country road trip.

4- I do have to say though, that as much as these boys have driven my nutso this year, they have also really stepped up with the household and chores. Their own rooms might be the brink of disaster, but they have been very good about doing the "public area" stuff. It's gotten to where now, they can pretty much maintain the household by themselves, with the exception of the shower/tub and the laundry. Their wives are going to love me someday!

5- I was so dang excited about all of this last night, I couldn't go to bed. And even when I did finally go to bed, I couldn't sleep. I am going on about 2-3 hours of sleep right now. Which makes for not so creative blogging...bear with me dear reader, I promise that someday, I will talk about something other than moving. It's just what my life is right now.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


This week I have:

1-Met with the moving company for a pre-move walk through. In three weeks I will be waist deep in boxes (and trying to not be completely stressed out at all that needs to be done).

2- Set up disconnect dates and gave forwarding address to utility companies. (That was an hour of my afternoon!)

3-The house is purged and cleaned (mostly) for the move. Now to just maintain that standard!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Castle By The Sea (in the Mediterranean, near Mersin, Turkey)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Booked! or Why I Love My Husband # 3,010

We're starting to do all those "almost last minute" things one does with a move. Sooo, the other day, Chuck mentions to me that we should be thinking about planning the trip/hotel stays from here to CA. Did I mention it is 2331.55 miles from here to there? With the boys, and the dog, and the cat?

So anyway, back to the point: I said, "You mean "we" as in "me", because I always do these things?!"

"Well, you're JUST so GOOD at these things!" he replied.

Many things ran through my mind. Some not very nice.

What I said: "Wow, you're good! You totally took a we thing and made it a ME thing. But I'm not one of your troops...I'm onto you! I will not fall for these tricks of transference and good delegation!"

He laughs. And then admits, "Yeah, you got me! You like that?"

I said, "Chuck," (because terms of endearment weren't flowing at this point) "this move is because of you. It is YOUR government credit card that has to be used and I am a single mom trying to get this house/kids/animals ready for this same move. BY.MYSELF! I know all the amazing things you are capable of at work, I THINK you can handle this!"

"Fine," he said in a tone that meant I-Know-I'm-Not-Getting-Out-of-This-One.

And so he did. He planned out the trip (5 days on the road with a mid-point stop at my parents' house). And then he researched and called for reservations (which is something we don't necessarily like to take chances with animals). We are now booked, it's done, and I didn't have to do it! And he didn't even complain!

See, honey, I "delegated" and I "empowered" you! You're not the only one who knows these tricks! Not to mention all those brownie wife points you just collected. Thanks sweetie, I love you!


What I found: a cape and a (play) Air Force uniform thrown on the bottom of the storage shed.

What I asked: Please go pick up the stuff on the storage shed floor(that we just cleaned).

What he did: Picked it up and placed it on the hose reel OUTSIDE of the shed three steps away.

What this means: It is partially my fault for not being specific enough in my directive to include "Put them away WHERE they go". It is why when I ask them to do something, the request comes with 5 minutes of specifics. "We KNOW Mom" is always their impatient response. Well,if they KNOW, why don't they DO it?

What I think: That all of the "wailing and lamenting" done in Biblical times was done by frustrated mothers!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Memory Lane Monday

If you think this sounds familiar, it’s because I told this story on the old blog. But it’s worth repeating a good reminder and cherished memory.

In one of my recent posts, I mentioned Ohio Sweet Corn and how we would not be here this year to eat it once it comes into season. I will miss that time of year, the time of fairs and farms and a special ending to the summer: sweet corn season. Corn grown in Ohio is so very tender, a little sweet; boiled and eaten slathered in butter and salt, it just melts in your mouth. It is a small taste of Heaven. I’ve eaten corn in regions all over the world, and with no disrespect toward the rest of the world (because every region has its specialty); Ohio Sweet Corn is the best, hands down! I’m not biased, it’s just a fact.

Talking about sweet corn reminded me of when I first introduced Chuck and the boys to this Ohio specialty. It was the summer of ’04, and we had just returned to the States after a four year tour in Turkey. We had just gotten stationed in NC, still living in lodging and decided to come up so that they could meet some of the extended family.

We were having dinner at my cousin’s house. It was the first time some of us had seen each other in 12 or more years. We had kids of our own now, watching them play together as we did when we were young. It was fun to see them, but it was more fun to see how much my mom and my Aunt Cheryl enjoy watching them. (That IS a grandma’s right to receive joy from the grandchildren: all the fun, and give them back when they start acting up!)

We were having a bbq, and with bbq in Ohio, it is imperative that there is Ohio Sweet Corn. I don’t remember specifically what else we ate that day, though it was all good, but I do remember the warm juices of the kernels melting in my mouth (and probably down my chin) as I took that first bite of Ohio Sweet Corn for the first time in over a decade. I know I ate my share that day.

But I wasn’t the only one enjoying the corn from above, Jaden (who wasn’t four at the time)had chewed his way through two ears of corn, clean (better than many adults) and was asking for more. Being the “responsible” parent, I told him he had to “make a happy plate” by finishing his hot dog and chips. Aunt Cheryl looked at Jaden proudly and asked, “You like that stuff buddy? It’s good corn isn’t it?” Then she looked at me, smiled and said, “You know, it’s just a hot dog and chips…you can always eat hot dogs and chips. But how often does he get Ohio Sweet Corn? Let him eat corn!”

She had a point. Jaden ate tons of corn on the cob that day. But I think an even bigger lesson was that I realized that sometimes, it is ok to bend the rules, to make exceptions. The world doesn’t end, and everyone is happy. While planning and routines are important, sometimes just being in the moment, ENJOYING the moment, is when the memories are made. She didn’t realize it at the time, but a memory that Jaden and I both cherish is that day with Aunt Cheryl and the Ohio Sweet Corn. This moment was an example of how she lived her life: with love, and acceptance and enjoying the moment. Aunt Cheryl died from cancer almost two years ago this month. But her lessons live on through all of us.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Lego Force Picture

And here IS PROOF of my theory!!!

The Lego Force

H/T to A Lego A Day

Cleaning and the Lego Force: Respect the Lego

I mentioned earlier this week that I have been doing some major pre-move purging and cleaning. I have most of the house done, and most "dirt" was what is expected: dirty windows, curtains that needed to be washed, expired spices to be tossed, dust bunnies under the couch, a couple of socks hiding in random places. However, when it came to the boys' rooms, I'm just not sure what happened in those places!

Along with the to-be-expected cleaning of the "snake pits" as I not so fondly call the boys' rooms, I found: empty water bottles, which they are allowed to have, (is it SO hard to throw them in the recycling?); dirty clothes in places that clothes should not be (oh of COURSE those dirty socks and underwear and jeans should be shoved in a storage tub, under blankets and pillows, and Lego drawers, perfectly logical, I mean, it's not as if there is a laundry sorting system RIGHT where the we get undressed for the shower!); a CLEAN shirt that was shoved under the bookcase (I know I just washed it last week...was it REALLY faster to shove that way in back and under that little tiny space than it would have been to JUST. HANG. IT. UP!); various food wrappers and popcorn seeds which they are NOT allowed to have in their rooms; and a half eaten cookie (who forgets to finish a cookie?)! Maybe I need to start hiding my cookies and then I could lose a little weight. I NEVER forget to finish a cookie!

A little grosser were the used tissues that migrated to parts of the room where no one could ever possibly blow their nose. It had to have taken the kleenex stuffer longer to shove those things in the hiding spaces than it did just to throw them away (yes, the have garbage cans in their rooms). Maybe they're afraid to put the used tissues in the garbage because they think the dog will get them. The dog has some weird used tissue fetish where he pulls tissues out of the garbages and shreds them all over the room. Then, you have soggy used kleenex to throw away. While you are cleaning up this mess and grumbling at the dog, he just stands there and "smiles" at you with his little doggy underbite and looks at you like, "What?! I heard it is a good source of protein and I need to be in shape for my walks!"

I know, REALLY disgusting. Sorry, but this is my life.

My biggest nemesis that lurks in the pits are the Legos. I mean, what do you do with hundreds of tiny little pieces that end up in every single drawer, storage place (for things other than Legos), surface areas, floors, window sills, book shelves and of course under the bed/dresser/desk?! I have started referring to the little edge in the carpet against the molding as Lego Trenches: It's where Legos go to die! They DO have Lego storage systems, but I think these little pieces of expensive plastic have united to form the Lego Force. The Lego Force is what causes parents around the world to NOT toss away those tiny little buggers when it would be the quick and easy thing to do. The Lego Force is what whispers in the back of rational adult minds, "But they're NOT cheap and will this be the one piece needed to complete the masterpiece?", and compels them to get down on their hands and knees to pick up all of those teeny weeny pieces instead of simply sucking them up with the vacuum hose. The times I do get so frustrated that I (secretly, shh) do suck them up, I still cannot suck up Lego body parts. Hair, bodies, microscopic arms and their accessories are safe from the vortex. I imagine little voices yelling, "No, no, I have a wife, a house and a pirate boat! How will I use my Indiana Jones whip if you throw away my hand?!"

Is this crazy? Yes! It's the goal of the Lego Force: Respect the Lego!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Imagine Spot 2

This is making its way around the net, and I just couldn't pass up the chance to share something so good! It is going to be aired during the American Idol final!

Take Five Fridays

This has been a pretty busy/hodge podge week. I have gotten a lot done around the house for the move. The two boys' rooms are done, which are the worst ones and the ones I dread, but now I just have to stay on them so their stuff doesn't take over again! I only have my room, the bathrooms and laundry left, which will be easy, and just keeping up with it for the next three weeks! Craig was home two days with a fever (NO he didn't have the Swine Flu). I am very grateful there were no other symptoms.


The water main upgrade project has progressed to the "alternative water line" stage. They had to come inside the house yesterday to remove the meter and hook up the new line until they are finished (after we leave). It was quick and harmless compared to the last water project we endured in NC. It's interesting how well a job is done when it isn't a military contract just trying to git-r-done.

Speaking of upgrades, Cleveland's Inner Belt Bridge has been getting a lot of publicity due to weight limits and needed safety improvements. One of the things they are going to be doing is "lifting" the bridge for stress tests, "just an inch or so" (they say). My question is, if you are going to be fiddling with the bridge, do I REALLY want to be driving on this? Bridges are like elevators or planes: I really don't want to think about everything it takes to keep these things safe!


As I was driving home today (Friday mornings are my turn with Grandpa), I saw a vege stand on the side of the road. It was a glimpse of the summers in Ohio, of buying good, fresh produce, specifically Ohio Sweet Corn. Yes, Ohio Sweet Corn is capitalized because it is a proper noun in this area. People have whole conversations about how close it is to "Sweet Corn Season", what kind of crop it will be, who has the best corn, how much, not-bad-for-a-good-price, etc. People will drive out of their way to get the best Ohio Sweet Corn. And if you've never had Ohio Sweet Corn, you are missing out. Corn on the cob, boiled, with butter and a bit of salt, oh my goodness, you have NEVER had anything like it! Some people aren't quite convinced of this, (like Chuck and Craig; they might just have to be excommunicated from all things Ohio), but Jaden and I are true believers and I was sad to realize that we won't be here this year for Ohio Sweet Corn. The past few years, we've only been a day away, so we were able to come up and get our fix, but CA is going to be too far away for that.


While were on the subject of local stuff, how about those Cleveland Cavaliers ?!!!!

This MUST be their year, Cleveland has to have at least ONE good sports team! The area just really needs something "happy" right now.


It's been a drizzly/rainy week. I love how the grayness of the sky intensifies the already bright greens of spring. I don't mind a rainy week, because I know that's what gives us the green and the flowers and the blooming trees. HOWEVER, when you are cooped up in the house with two boys for a week, and Jaden (aka Danger Boy) cannot get out to ride his bike, people tend to get restless, whiny and grumpy. I managed not to throw a tantrum, but I can't say the same for other people in this house. Jaden needs to ride his bike like a cowboy needs his horse. Unless there is an intense downpour this afternoon, Danger Boy will put on old clothes, get on that bike, and ride it blissfully through the puddles. I just know Oxi was invented by a mom!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Big, Fat Liar

Honestly, when I tell the 8 yo boy that we will have to walk to school this morning instead of riding his bike because there are supposed to be really bad rain storms this afternoon, why does he argue? Does he think I have nothing better to do that lie to him about the weather? Or maybe I have nothing else to do but to sit around and make up stories to tell them and things to do to make their lives miserable?

*SIGH* Walking to school least the dog is happy to walk.

Small Successes


It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that.

1. I got the living room and office/dining room and both boys' rooms(hazmat suits anyone?!) pre-move cleaned and purged. All those high dust zones, files organized, curtains and bedding washed, deep corners and dark places vacuumed and windows cleaned. I even washed the outside windows on the front porch! I also managed to grocery shop, get gas, provide dinners and mow the lawn during all this.

2. I did not lose my temper when one boy was pressed up against above mentioned clean window to watch the city workers out by the water main.

3. I have a pre-move appointment with the moving company set up for next Wednesday. One step closer, and I am trying not to get too excited that after this upcoming weekend, Chuck will be home in THREE!!! weeks! I almost get teary eyed thinking about it.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

"Thanks Matt, I'd really love to be your stunt double, but I just love the Air Force and its high pay, deployments and remote tours way too much." (Yes, that really is Matt Damon with Chuck.)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Lego a Day

This is has become my new favorite blog. It makes me smile and even laugh out loud some days and it is something I can share with the boys. Sadly, his year is almost up, he is only doing 365 days of these, but we'll enjoy them while we can.

A Lego a Day

Junk Mail

Tuesdays are junk mail days at our house. The only thing I like about junk mail is that at least it's not a bill! Today, I got something addressed to "The Smart Shopper".

Lately my mind been so fizzled I'll take being a smart anything!

Prisoner in His Own Home; aka Sick or Not Sick

Craig started running a fever last night with it peaking at 101.5 around bedtime. We gave him some Tylenol, water and a bucket (just in case) and put him to bed. While there was some underlying concern about Swine Flu, I wasn't too freaked because there is a "lesser" bug going around his school right now. There were no other symptoms, but it was still 100.7 this morning and he stayed home from school.

He spent most of the day sitting on the couch rotting his brain in front of the tv. The fever broke around lunch time and he became restless. I pulled the plug on the mind sucker, and suddenly he is clamoring to go outside (because his brother and friends are home from school). In our house, if you aren't well enough for school, you aren't well enough for friends. It's just common sense and common courtesy. After explaining to him (again) that you still have to take it easy to let your body recover, I suggested he read (which he usually loves doing). He proceeds to sigh, stomp loudly up the stairs to get his book, where he informs Jaden, *key violin* "You're lucky you can go outside. Me, I'm a prisoner. A prisoner in my own home."

I'm just glad he's well enough to feel that way.

Happy Cinco de Mayo! We're having tacos, how about you?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Memory Lane Monday

My last, completely clear, yet totally surreal memory happened in September of ’07.

Chuck was working 12 hour night shifts at the time for an inspection, and was just getting off work when I was taking Jaden to school. I was surprised to see him pull up and park near the gate through the perimeter fence to the school. I thought he might want to say a quick, “Have a good day!” to Jaden. But I noticed there was something different about Chuck’s spirit as we walked Ja to his classroom. I tried chalking it up to his being tired, but somehow, I knew there was something more.

We had dropped Ja off and walking side by side back to the gate. He had grabbed my hand, and said to me, “I have something to tell you.”

It’s weird how when you are about to get bad news, you notice the things around you, your surroundings, and for me, the weather. At that moment, everything froze, and is the moment that the world stood still for me. I remember the sand on the ground that had shifted from so many rains. I remember the birds, and I remember that the morning fog had not burned off yet. I remember the air being heavy. “You’re going to Korea, aren’t you?”

“Yes.” One word uttered so many different ways thousands of times a day and this time it changes our lives. What makes these times surreal is that while your moment is frozen everyone else keeps going; people that are still walking by, the little children clinging to their mothers, the giggling from a shared joke, the birds are still chirping. Does the gate guard checking our ID’s sense that our lives have just changed? With one simple “Yes” it keeps by passers and onlookers oblivious to the onslaught of thoughts and emotions coming through you at once.

“How soon?” I wondered aloud.

“June of ’08,” he answered.

I nodded, very quiet. I couldn’t even say what I was feeling (I know, imagine THAT). I just knew that the one person who is my world was leaving. He isn’t just my husband. He isn’t just the father of my children. He is my best friend, the one person who truly knows me and loves me anyway. Chuck is the gift that God gave me in this world to keep me balanced. I used to believe that “soul mate” was a romanticized, cheesy term used by anyone to describe someone they had clicked with at one point. But I can honestly say that there have been moments when I know that our souls have not just connected, but inter-mingled, became one, never to be completely separated again.

And, there I was, faced with my heart, my life and part of my soul preparing to leave for a year. From the time he joined the Air Force (I was married to him BEFORE he joined); this assignment has been the one I’ve dreaded. I’m not being a very good military wife admitting this, just honest.

“You don’t seem very upset,” he said to me.

“I’ve just known for a while now that you were going to leave. I’ve just had this premonition for a couple of years. I am upset. I’m just not surprised,” I explained.

At that point we went to the office that handles the orders. We had seven days to decide whether for him to accept the orders, or to not be able to re-enlist once his time ran out on his current enlistment. We couldn’t accompany him. We went home, both of us overwhelmed and not knowing what to say. We hadn’t been home an hour when the phone rang, letting me know that my 92 year old grandpa had passed away. Out of those seven days where we were making a career decision, we spent four of them going to and from the funeral of my grandfather (11 hours away).

At some point during that time, something in me just kind of shut off. I’ve just been kind of numb ever since, functioning in survival mode (there were already 2 deaths and a 2 cancers in the family in the past year). This was also the day I pulled the plug on my old blog. I just didn’t know what I had to say. I realize now, that in order to write, one has to feel, and I can’t feel one thing without opening the door for everything else. I guess in order for me to get through this year, it’s what had to happen.

I’m glad I can feel again. It’s not all good, but it beats just existing. And Chuck will be home in four weeks. THAT is something I am looking forward to feeling

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Enter: Cornhole

Today is a bright, sunny day and a great day for Cornhole. If you've never played Cornhole, you're missing out! When I first heard of Cornhole, I couldn't get past the idea that this must be something that Beevis and Butthead played. Did it have people running around with their shirts on their heads talking about "Corn-holio"?! It's like horseshoes, only with boards with a hole and beanbags (stuffed with corn) to throw instead of heavy metal shoes. A wonderful alternative to horseshoes for kids and it's a fun BBQ game for adults as well. It's pretty popular in these parts, growing in popularity nation wide, there's even tournaments and a Cornhole Association.

Chuck started playing this game at work parties a few years back. Horseshoes used to be the thing, but now it's Cornhole; maybe because it's portable, and it does far less damage to the lawn? (And maybe someone finally figured out that giving a bunch of drinking guys heavy metal things to throw around in a group wasn't the safest idea!) When we moved to Ohio last year, my brother was really into the game, too. So, we invested in our own set, and have gotten our money's worth.

It's nice to hear the *thump* of the bag hitting the board. It's even nicer to hear the neighborhood kids having so much fun with such a simple concept. C'mon over! The weather's fine, and the bags are hittin the boards!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Out of Order

My resident 8yo plumber has declared the upstairs toilet "Out of Order". He even put a sign on the seat so we wouldn't forget. He's been plunging after every use for two days now, and still can't get suction. *SIGH* Guess we'll have to call in the big guns on Monday. I am a bit frustrated by this ( I know, in the grand scheme of things, right?) The downstairs toilet is fine, but still, these little annoyances add up.

I am pretty sure that one of the lessons that God has shown me this year is that what you think you want is not always what you want. Since we have moved away from Ohio when I was 12 years old, I have dreamed of moving back. And so the boys and I are living that dream, and for the most part, we've really liked it. I always thought I would love to buy an old house and renovate it, that it would be so neat to live in an old home. So we were able to rent "this old house" for the year, and I can say with most confidence now, that renovation is over-rated.

Almost everything that can go wrong with a house HAS in the past year. The DAY after Chuck left for Korea, the pipe from the upstairs bathroom was leaking in the basement. That resulted in the toilet and part of the floor being removed in the bathroom; cutting a hole in the kitchen wall, floor to ceiling, in order to replace the pipe. Then the hole in the bathroom or the kitchen wasn't fixed for several weeks. I was living in a construction zone for a month and a half! (I am "A Place for Everything" gal, you do the math!) Door knobs come off continuously in your hands when using the doors (just one of many old house offerings), we have no water pressure, the hot water heater went out just last week, and now we're back to toilet issues. The owners have had to replace something in this house almost every month since we've been here, through nothing we have done or not done. So yeah, my honeymoon with old houses is OVER!

So as I was sitting here pondering whether to call the owners now or let them enjoy the weekend, I dedided to read a few blogs. Over at Esther's blog I read:

Today I will accept any suffering that comes my way, confident that it is somehow part of God’s loving plan. -Regnum Christi Daily Meditation

And I commented: "Hmmm...I needed this reminder today! But I wonder, does that suffering include toilet issues in a 109 yo house?! Again? That plunging is NOT helping?! I wonder, are no suction toilets part of God's plan?!"

Well, if nothing else, it reminded me that this really is a very small thing. It reminded me to offer up my "annoyance" for those who have no running water, or indoor plumbing, where families of 8 live in a house smaller than my bathroom made from cinder blocks and a cardboard roof.

It reminded me, that perhaps, the toilet wasn't the only thing out of order. So was my attitude. Maybe I'll just hang that sign around my neck and trust that yes, non-flushing toilets ARE a part of God's plan!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Plunging Part 2

Jaden was plunging the upstairs toilet this morning before school. (Don't ask, we live a 109 year old house.) "Squish! Splash! Suck!" came from the toilet.

"Grrr! Great! Now I'm going to have to change my shirt!" from Jaden.

Take Five Fridays

May Day! May Day! It is finally May! While April is a "short" month, it seemed as though it went on and on and on! Even with a holiday, April was a very. long. month. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I knew, that on May 1st, I could finally say, "Chuck will be home in ONE month!" Not that it's been a long year or anything, no, not at all...


Speaking of Chuck, it would be remiss to not mention that today is the feast day of St. Josephy the Worker. Chuck's patron saint is St. Joseph, and the two are both so alike in work ethic and loyalty and love to family. But the way that I think Chuck is the most like Joseph is the spirit of humility and generosity in which he goes through life. Happy St. Joseph's Day!


And now that we're in May, Monday will start the countdown of 4 weeks until he is home. Four weeks left to get the house purged, organized and ready for packers. I've gotten some of it done, but I prefer to wait until later (like the boys' bedrooms), otherwise I have to do it all over again. In the craziness that is our life, Chuck will be home June 1, pack out 3-5 AND have the house inspection clean for our deposit on the evening of the 5th so that we can be on the road to our next assignment in CA on the 6th.(God willing, we still don't have packers officially through the Air Force, and they don't always check in with God!) 2300 miles... in the car, with the boys, and the dog and the cat. Someone is going to end up like Aunt Edna on Vacation duct taped to the top of the car before we get there. Chuck admits that, "Yes, this WILL be a long hard road trip, but eventually, maybe after a week or two, we'll all start talking to each other again!"


I really, really love the four seasons that Ohio has to offer. It has been 25 years since I have lived somewhere that offers the real beauty and colors of four normal seasons.

It was great last summer when it didn't get so hot that no one could even go outside. The boys really enjoyed being out and hanging with friends vs. the sweat-bath sauna summers that Turkey and NC had to offer.

Fall was SO beautiful. While I am excited to move to our next place and be together as a family again, I am going to miss a real northern fall, with all the colors that offers. Well, here's a description in an essay that was published over at Catholic Exchange.

We liked the snow, for about the first two snowfalls, and then realized that with snow come shovels, and people that have to use them. Of course we had 28" above normal this year. Boy do I know that, I shoveled every inch! We did enjoy the three weeks Chuck could be home for the holidays and the maple sugaring we went to in February.

Now we have an intense and bright green that spring offers. The trees in our neighborhood create a canopy of hope, while our inner little world is speckled with violet and yellow daffodils and red tulips and misty rains and thunderstorms and the laughter of children playing outside in the warmth of sunshine.

Yes, I am going to miss four seasons. But I miss Chuck more.


Yesterday when I picked up Jaden after school it was raining. When he came running to the car, the look on his face was one of pure joy and happiness that can only be found on a boy who is content to live in the moment and celebrate the splashing of warm rain on his arms and face. How many adults feel that same gleeful exuberance when we have to go out in the rain? Our kids are little reminders that happiness is often a choice in how we look at things. We can meet life's rains with grumbling and umbrellas, or we can embrace them and celebrate what it offers right now, in this very moment.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Proud Mother Moment

Proud Mother Moment: Craig, playing actual music on his recorder through his nose. Not just one nostril mind, you, no no...this talent can do it through both sides. This is what 2 1/2 years of piano has gotten us?!

Small Successes


1. I got the mower ready to go for the year and the yard mowed.

2. I got the shed and basement purged and move out ready.

3. I started blogging again, thanks to this Small Successes offered every week by Faith and Family. I know I have something to say at least once a week, lol!

Hello Again

I'm back.

This would actually be part 2 of this blog. The first part I'd been playing with for about a year or so and I just had to stop. After the death of my aunt, who was my most loyal reader, my posts were sporadic. That, compounded by the cancer in one of my gpas and the craziness of driving 11 hours between North Carolina (where dh was stationed at the time in the AF) and Ohio got to be a lot. On the day my other grandfather died, my husband, Chuck got orders to Korea. I pulled the plug on blogging that day, because I couldn't find the words to describe the numbness and overwhelming emptiness that has been left.

Korea is a one year tour without family and it has been a very long year. It is hard to believe, that as of tomorrow, May 1, our family has lived in this house in Ohio for a year. Well, at least the boys and I have while Chuck is where the Air Force wants him. The year of him being away is almost done: he will be home June 1! To say we can't wait is a small understatement.

Some readers will recall that we used to homeschool. These past two years we have not. Last Craig was in a GREAT Catholic school in NC, and Jaden was in the public school. This year, with the move to Ohio, Catholic school tuition was not feasible and so they are in public school. I know homeschooling purists will say that the worst day of homeschooling is the better that ps, but I know my limits, and being responsiblefor my boys' education while I feel like I am barely treading water just to keep the basics going is just not something I can do well at this time. I will post about our experiences with ps here in another post.

That catches us up. Kind of. During this year we have spent a lot of time at the hospital and doctors' appointments for my grandpa. That will be fodder for future blog posts as well.

Anyway, thanks for reading, and welcome back!