Saturday, December 31, 2011


It's New Years Eve, and I'm living it up in a way that would impress anyone octogenarian out there.

I watched a televised church service, downed some apple cider, and now I'm wondering if the public broadcasting station has any sittercise episodes airing tonight.

I haven't left the house in 5 days. Hermitting at its finest.
I didn't even realize it was New Year's Eve until around dinnertime.

My early 30's are crying out for a re-do.

Good thing there is much excitement in store for 2012.
First, and most anticipated, will be reuniting our family in the spring. I can't wait to welcome my husband home, share the joys and challenges of daily life with him, and of course, give him a chaste peck on the lips.

(I'd tell you the truth, but I don't want to make you blush.)

I can't say for sure, but I think he'll be happy to be home as well.

Unless his fancy room in Afghanistan is just too comfortable for him to let go of...


Not sure I could handle calling that place home for 6 months. But on the positive side, one of the guys in that video clip I posted used to be Josh's roommate.
So at least his cozy space is all his own.
(For now.)

Our reunion will be shortchanged slightly by an imminent move across the country, but we are so looking forward to this next assignment that we don't really mind.
Josh will be attending language training in California, and from what I've heard, will have the best hours that he's had in his 10+ years on active duty.
What? Home for dinner and bedtime?
A girl could get used to that.

It's fun to think about all the new adventure-- like what our home in California will be like, and how things will go as we try to learn a new language.
Then there's the more challenging thoughts. How will the kids handle the move? What will we do for school next year? Must I hug trees to fit in? Go blonde? Gasp-- vote democrat?


I'm sure we'll get it all figured out in time.
And then we'll move again.

What I really feel as I think back on the year 2011 is thankfulness. I am grateful beyond words for all of the blessings in my life, and humbled by all that God has done for my family. I'll praise him for as many years as he gives me.

Wishing you all a blessed year in 2012!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Day 107

I've been a lazy blogger because I picked up a book.
My apologies. I'm one of those people who picks up a book and everything else gets set aside until it's finished.
The children go hungry, no one bathes, laundry piles up...

It doesn't even matter if it's a book I've read 5 times before.

(And it is.)

(Also I might be exaggerating slightly. I do enjoy being clean.)

I've also been playing with my new Christmas toy.
It starts with an i and ends with a pad.

I'm totally in the cool kids club now. After berating me for my old-school laptop that can't hold a charge, doesn't have a backspace key, and gives me third degree lap burns, my Mom & Mark gifted me with my new little friend.

Me likey. Me likey a lot.
Thanks guys!!

But it was kind of mean of you to first give me an iPad box that held only a maxi pad.
Funny, but mean.

This has nothing to do with anything, but the other day Derek grabbed this caterpillar toy and announced that it was his really long penis.

Boys are funny.

Christmas recap--

We opened the toys...

...played with the toys...

...and then showed them all to Daddy a couple hours later.

Josh was flying that morning, so he wasn't able to watch the live proceedings this time.


Tonight Pepaw and Grandma Cindy took these three hooligans to see a movie and have dinner.

 Woo-hoo! 3 and half hours of quiet for us. Candy, popcorn, happy meals, and a playplace for them. Probably a headache and some regret for Dad and Cindy.

They were a wee bit excited when they returned home. Alex & Kennedy had to give us all a play-by-play on the movie. It sounded epic.
Surely a future classic.

Something about a chipmunk. And a shipwreck.

Derek bounced off the walls and tried on some glasses.

Then he bounced off some more walls, only with poorer vision.
Then he threw the glasses behind the couch, slipped down the steps, and went to bed.

Pretty good day for a four year old.

Meanwhile I've unsuccessfully been trying to take a picture of Woody Woodpecker, who frequents the bird feeder outside the window here. He is very skittish.

I can't get any closer without him flying away and I've determined that when I grow up I shall not be a nature photographer.

You're welcome.

Also, this post?
Very random.

And I forgot I was supposed to tell you about WORLDS COLLIDING.

That will have to wait until tomorrow. Or whenever I finish my book.
Mostly because my lap is really hot right now, and I can't blog very well on my iPad.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Feliz Navidad

Hope you all enjoyed a lovely Christmas!

As for me, and probably most of you, we've been busy with busyness.

Yesterday we trekked over to the west side of the state, and not a day too soon, as the snow was falling this morning. A pretty day to stay inside by the fire nursing a cup of coffee.
And that's precisely what I've done.

My dad & Cindy got me the Keurig I was wanting for Christmas! Yay! After the blog post when I mentioned it, my dad let it slip that he was way ahead of me and they had already ordered one. I even got to have it early to take to Pat the Bunny's for the past couple weeks.
That is good, for coffee is not one of her accepted food groups.

It lacks the necessary sodium level to qualify.

So let's play catch-up now on the days leading up to Christmas...

The kids have been mucho excited.
And hyper.
And loud.
And a wee bit naughty.

Frankly they're lucky that Santa didn't hop right over them this year.

Crazy boy with his zoob crown.

Alex being a little mama to her cousin.

Christmas Eve cookie decorating...

Derek made one cookie, promptly started eating it, then dropped the snowman and decapitated him.

Resulting in this:

He refused to eat it, but was okay with giving it to Santa.

It tasted just fine.
I mean, that's what Santa told me, of course.

We have a tradition of letting the kids open one gift each on Christmas Eve.
It is always new pajamas.


Yet they have not caught on to that fact yet.

They were surprised and delighted by their new jammie-jam-jammerkins.

(Yes, we really call them that.)

Look what happens when you don't bring your stocking to Michigan with you.
The kids get to make their own...

... and I get an old nylon stocking.

For the record, I do not need a stocking. But somehow Santa always brings me some chocolate on Christmas morning and apparently needs somewhere to place it.

Christmas Day might have to wait for it's own post, but for those of you waiting for a Gone With the Wind post-- first refresh yourself here, because worlds are about to collide.

To be continued...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Halfway Home

Day 100.
This is the day I mark as halfway to the end of the deployment.

As with most facets of our military life, there is no actual date set in stone for Josh's return. Since traveling via fighter jet is unpredictable, I think that 200 days total for the deployment is a good guestimate that factors in some extra time for delays.

It feels like a long time ago that he left. 
It's hard to imagine that we still need that same amount of time to pass before he'll be home. 

But the days march on.
I'm grateful that we found out about our next assignment so early in the deployment. Focusing on the excitement of our upcoming Spanish adventure, and also working to learn a new language, has been great for both me and Josh.
After the kids and I get home, there will be plenty to keep me occupied as I try to weed through our household goods and make an attempt to purge some items. I think our next two homes, first in California and then in Spain, will be quite a bit smaller than the generous amount of space we currently have.

I talked to Josh today, and he's feeling a little under the weather. Hope it clears up and does not become a full-fleged man cold.
He's got no one there to answer his bell.

And he hasn't even had a hug in 100 days. Poor baby.
Though my guess is that bothers him less than another thing he's going without... ;)

Love you baby!
Soon we'll be counting down the days until my very favorite part of military life. After all, most married couples don't get to have a honeymoon every year and a half or so.

Glass half full, no?

I'll leave you with this parting shot of our daughter, which fairly aptly sums up her 'tude as of late.

The kids are excited about Christmas, overindulged by grandparents, and getting a little homesick as well.
The combination is a wee bit... challenging... to deal with.
I am requesting Santa either bring me a big box of patience, or a vacation sans children.

His choice.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Day 98

Today I'm celebrating (from a distance) with several friends in our squadron. I wasn't able to mention it before, but quite a few of our guys were able to return home early from the deployment.

Unfortunately, Josh wasn't one of them.

It's a little tough to watch the reunions when ours is still so far off, but I am really happy for my friends who are getting an early Christmas gift.

Here is a short clip of some good friends of mine welcoming their husband's home.

I can't wait for our turn...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Day 97

We had quite the festive weekend, how 'bout you?

Two years ago, the kids and I were here in Michigan for the holidays while Josh was deployed.
Sound familiar?

While we were here we took part in a local event called The Polar Express.
It was a big hit, so we did it again this year.

It involves boarding a bus that travels around the nearby neighborhoods to see the Christmas lights and decorations. They play The Polar Express story on CD while we drive, and even cut out special shapes from our tickets, just like in the movie.

The ride ends at the North Pole, where the kids can meet Santa and have cookies and hot chocolate. Oh, and the kids can wear jammies if they like.

Things that are true of our evening:

1) Alex and Santa hit it off.

2) Derek cowered in fear under a table for the majority of the evening.

3) Derek spilled his hot chocolate and had a meltdown.

4) My nephew, Caleb, wasn't quite sure what he thought about Santa.

5) My brother in law, Kent, is on the naughty list.

6) My niece, Kennedy, had a sudden-onset case of the giggles and couldn't even tell Santa what she wanted for Christmas.

7) Our group took up a whole bus.

Pat the Bunny, her brother Uncle Fred, his son Chris with his wife Michelle and their 4 kids, my sister and brother-in-law with my nephew & niece, Josh's sister and her husband John with baby Caleb.

Pictured here are all of the kids...

 ... minus Ian, who is the oldest and probably deemed himself too mature for the Santa nonsense, and Derek who was either hiding under a table or having a fit about spilled hot chocolate.

The two in the front and one on the left are Chris & Michelle's triplets.

See? Everywhere I turn I find something to be grateful for.
Like having my kids one at a time.


Hey guess what? Guess what?

I'm going shopping tomorrow with my sister and no kids.
Yes I am.

PtB is taking the urchins with her to school tomorrow. She doesn't have any classes to teach and there are some special programs that she thought they would enjoy.

I think she's nuts and will spend the whole day answering a never-ending supply of questions and keeping them from tearing apart her classroom, but I'll refrain from telling her so.
Because then I wouldn't get to shop with no children.

If only our shopping trip didn't coincide with the week before Christmas, it would be slightly more ideal. But as my kids say, you get what you get and you don't throw a fit.

(They don't often take their own advice, if I'm being honest. Derek got a cup of spilled hot chocolate and he did, indeed, throw a fit.)

 Well I had better get to bed early tonight. I want to be in peak form for the shopping adventure.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Five Things

1) Today at the grocery store I insisted on a price check when my elbow macaroni rang up $0.40 more than it should have.

I was feeling ornery.

It's the principle of the matter.
Even more annoying is that I'm sure they didn't correct it in their computer, so the next schmuck will have to wait while the slow-moving clerk meanders away to check the price.
Customer service is going down the tubes, people.
Don't worry, I spent my time waiting wisely, as I had chosen to self-checkout in Spanish.

I just pushed buttons and tried to figure out what they were saying.

2) The other day, the kids received Christmas cards in the mail here at Pat the Bunny's house.
They were the thick kind that play music and require extra postage.
Three stamps each, to be exact.

Care to guess who sent them?

Yep, Pat the Bunny.
Sent from her house, to her house.

I have no idea why she didn't just put them in her own mailbox without wasting money on stamps.

I'm going to guess that she would not have requested the price check for 40 cents.

3) This is my boy, fresh and clean from the bath.

He said that he was the baby turtle's daddy and he was going to take care of him.
Isn't he sweet?

Then he told the turtle to close his eyes and go to sleep-- he would go fight the bad guys to keep him safe.

I love Daddy's who do that.  :)

One such Daddy sent each of his kiddos a flag that he flew in combat.
They don't really get it, but they do enjoy using the flags as blankets for their stuffed animals.

Little patriots. ;)

4) I have not been poking nearly enough fun at Pat the Bunny this trip, but soon I shall remedy that with a post to be titled:

Food Groups according to Bunny, Pat the.

It will be entertaining.
Gross, yet entertaining.

5) This is my girl:

She likes Christmas.
And I like her.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


To Whom it May Concern at the Jeepers! Headquarters, if indeed, anyone is concerned:

Today I took my children to one of your Jeepers! establishments. We were celebrating the half-way mark of my daughter's school year.
When we chose to home school, her only concern was missing out on the annual Fun Day of her former school. I assured her that we would indeed have our own Fun Day. 
After all, even home-educated children need to leave the house once in a while, or so I've heard.
We tossed aside the denim jumper and the hymnal and we headed out to socialize.

After careful deliberation, I chose your franchise for our festivities, as your website assures us that it is "America's Greatest Indoor Amusement Park" and the place "For Exciting Family Entertainment."

I knew it must be true when I saw that Jeepers! is always spelled with an exclamation point.
Dead giveaway for excitement.

After doing my careful research, including calling the location to confirm that they participated in $5 wristband Wednesdays (we are the thrifty sort),  we excitedly headed out to ride unlimited rides and experience unlimited excitment. Jeepers!

Even the downpour of rain couldn't dampen the spirits of my youngsters.
Probably because they weren't the ones sloshing through the mud trying to get them loaded into the car.

Since your website clearly stated that you open at noon on Wednesdays, we headed off around 11:50am. Surely your special promotion on this middle day of the week brings in larger crowds, and we wanted to beat them in. Jeepers!

Pulling into the parking lot at noon, the children were dismayed to find that your place of business (term used loosely) was not exactly...open for business. After slopping through the puddles we found that your door advertises your opening hour as 1pm.

That was disappointing.

I was slightly to moderately hungry at the time, and the Jeepers! menu was to fulfill our lunching needs. Instead we headed next door to the Big Lots where we did our best to pass the time.
Fortunately, my kids gave me plenty to do as they wanted to know, every thirty seconds, if I would please check the time to see if we could go to Jeepers!.
We also had the privilege of utilizing rather poorly maintained public restrooms, and growing hungrier by the moment.

At last! It was 12:58 and I told the kids it was safe to walk next door and start Fun Day.
Brrrrr! Jeepers! The rain had picked up and the wind sure was blowing!

There was a handtruck sitting right in front of your doors and the Pepsi man was idling in his large truck in front of the entrance. It seemed he was attempting to make a delivery, but the doors were locked.
Mommy, why can't we go in?
Mama-- I can see a fun ride through the window!
Mommy, why aren't the lights on?
Mama I'm cold! You said it was time!
Mommy, are the exhaust fumes from the Pepsi truck making you want to vomit?
Yes darling, yes they are.

About six minutes later, a man came running up to the door and unlocked it. Then the Pepsi man made his delivery. We walked in behind him and waited another 5 minutes for the lights to be turned on.
After all, there was only this one man to accept the delivery and turn on the lights.
Then we waited some more.
And some more.
The one man went through a ritual of sorts involving moving trash cans about.

Eventually he came to the counter where I was able to request 2 wristbands for my children. I tried to pay with my debit card, but had to wait another 5 minutes before the computers "warmed up."
Jeepers! was kind of getting on my nerves right about then.

You see, I was hungry. And I don't do well when I'm hungry.
Ask my husband, he can confirm.
Only he's a bazillion miles away at war, and was probably having a better time than I was at that moment.

Did you hear that Jeepers!? War would be preferable to starving in your poorly employed establishment.
Also, I might have a little PMS.
Can't rightly say.

I asked the one man who would be running the rides, and he pointed to himself. And then I asked if he would be doing the cooking as well and he muttered something I didn't understand.
But my stomach understood.

There would be no lunch for me.
Fortunately I had forced my children to eat a banana each in the car on the way over, so at least they were doing okay.

Because, after all, there was only one man.
One man to move trash cans about, to man the register, to operate all the rides, and I certainly couldn't take him away from those things to ask him to heat up the fryers and cook me some gosh-darn lunch, now could I?

So myself, and the few other agitated customers, did our best to coordinate our childrens' desires for which ride to experience, since of course one man can only operate one ride at a time. We got on the first ride at 1:30pm, a mere hour and a half after we arrived ready for some Jeepers! fun.

And Jeepers!, when people came in to discuss birthday parties, that one man was unavailable to help us with a ride for ten minutes at a time.

I know in this economy, we all have to cut back where we can. But if this is your company's idea of a good way to cut back, then pardon my french, but you kind of suck.

Still grumpy.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Day 90

Today we drove the 2 1/2 hours back to Pat the Bunny's house.
My kids are jumping up and down on my last nerve, so I've pawned them off on PtB for the evening and I'm hoping that they'll figure out how to put themselves to bed.

The last couple of days in western Michigan were quite festive. We decked the halls at Mimi's house, complete with a dinner of hot chocolate & candy canes, followed by some kettle corn and watching The Polar Express. Oh, and some apple slices for good measure.

We spent Sunday at Pepaw's playing outside and eating a yummy pot roast.

Have you ever seen two kids more excited about being pulled around on a sled?

It might be because Pepaw's idea of pulling the kids around is a little unconventional...

And fast.

Then we went traipsing through the woods, looking for animal tracks and the elusive perfect stick.

Mission accomplished.

Look! It's me in a picture that's not taken in a mirror!

Watch out:

Youngest member of the NRA

And if the dead deer hanging in the barn is any indicator, my father is definitely not a member of PETA. 
The kids checked it out and reported that there was a huge deer with blood dripping off it's nose. 


They had so much fun outside that they wanted to do it all again after dinner.
I decided Pepaw could handle it on his own. They returned after dark, all in one piece and just a little wet.

So there you have a recap of our last couple days. Hopefully after a good nights' rest everyone here (read: me!) will be in a better mood.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Day 87

Good news!
My husband has been gone for 87 days.

Why is this good news?
Well, because I apparently made a mistake along the way at some point in my bloggy day-count, and I thought today was day 84.
But it's not, and I get an extra three days to add to the count.

Which, in retrospect, means nothing because the days he's been gone does not directly correlate to when he will return home.

Forget I said anything.

Still, we're inching ever closer to the halfway point.

Today we woke up to another dusting of snow, but unlike the last time, the temperature today was much cooler. Twenty-nine degrees to be exact.
But the kids begged, and I figured that even 15 minutes outside would be good for them. So I bundled them up and shooed them off into the yard.

One of the nice things about being here is the ability to throw the kids outside on their own. I think it's good for kids to be able to explore independently and have a little freedom outside. It's a shame that the world we live in today limits that so much.
So it was nice to give them a taste of autonomy; I didn't tell them I was watching from inside.
After all, Derek is only a tiny infant baby toddler, as you know.

Despite my predictions of lasting 15 minutes, Derek was the first to come in an hour and half later! Alex lasted a full two hours before I insisted that she come in and get checked for frostbite.

And the best part of a romp in the snow-- hot chocolate.

Alex & I are still getting her schoolwork done, though I scheduled a lighter load for our time in Michigan. Because we started in June, we are able to take our time and not fall behind. It has been taking us more like 7-8 days to work through the assignments meant to be done in 5 days, but we're still on track to finish the year out at the end of May.

Unless of course, a move preempts that plan. The preliminary news that we're hearing is that we might be rolling out of North Carolina sooner than we originally thought. Maybe just a few weeks after Josh returns from Afghanistan. I guess that means we'd have to trade in our DisneyWorld plans for DisneyLand plans. We'll just have to wait and see...a move I'm perfecting after 10 years in the Air Force.

We've spent several evenings having dinner and playtime at my dad's. I finally remembered to bring my camera over yesterday.
Here are Pepaw & Alex, and an attempt to get all three of them.

Derek had a case of the sillies, which later developed into a case of the naughties, which was resolved only after a good night's rest.
He's so easy to read-- when he gets overtired, in addition to being naughty, he also trips, falls, and bumps into things like crazy. I keep waiting for him to get a little taller, because being at counter height & doorknob height hasn't been working out too well for him.

The sun was still up when we got over to my dad's yesterday, so Pepaw took Derek out for a "hunt" in the woods. My dad is a big hunter, and dreams of the day when his grandsons will enjoy that with him.
He might not want to hold his breath though.
First Derek did not want to take Pepaw up on his offer to carry a small BB gun through the woods (Just so he could feel like the real deal, not to actually shoot it. Remember-- tiny infant baby toddler.) He told Pepaw that he'd better not because the "deers might see it."
I asked him today why he didn't want the deer to see it and he told me "they might think I want to shoot them, Mama!"
So I'm thinking he's not quite grasping the concept of hunting yet.
Though spending time in my dad's house should make it abundantly clear, don't you think?

Here's a shot of Derek snuggling with Mimi (my mom). I've been terrible about getting pics of the kids with our family.

On Monday we're heading back over to Pat the Bunny's house for a couple weeks. We have to change up the scenery every so often, to give the old folks some quiet time.

Here's your friendly reminder: 16 days 'til Christmas!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge

It's been too long since I've joined in with the Wednesday Hodgepodge at Joyce's page.
So here we go...

1. Will you be hosting any house guests between now and the end of December? Does that thought make you happy or crazy? Do you do anything special for your guests to make them feel at home? How long should a house guest stay? 

I shall not be having any guests, instead I myself will be continue to be a full-time house guest for all that time, and beyond. What luck!

If anyone is squatting back at our place, they would be guests of the uninvited variety.
And if you are reading this, could you start the robbery with that dinosaur of a TV we've got? I've heard of these things called flatscreens that apparently are all the rage.

I know because my mom's got, like, 6 of them.
See those guys on the field? I can see a booger in their nose from across the room.

Am I happy that I'm not hosting?
Why yes, yes I am. 
When people stay at your house they eventually will need to eat, and that poses a litany of woes. Grocery shopping, meal planning, cooking, clean up. You know, the stuff of life that I try to minimize as much as possible.
Do I do anything special as a host to make guests feel at home? Well I consider stocking the fridge and changing sheets special, so yeah, I guess I do.
How long should a houseguest stay? 
That depends-- do they cook?

2. Walter Elias Disney was born this week (December 5) back in 1905 ...what's your all time favorite Disney movie? Here's a list in case you're struggling...and yes, you have to pick one.

My favorite was always Beauty & the Beast. I like the music the best in that one, though I find the love connection startling.
About as startling as Josh would find my legs if he surprised me by coming home without warning. Not gonna lie. They too are a little beastly.

3. What was the last thing you purchased that you realized was a mistake after the fact?
Well the first thing that pops into my mind when I think of buyer's regret is that house we've got hanging around in Idaho.
I'm sure I've regretted something since then, but it pales in comparison.

4. What percentage of your Christmas shopping is done online?

This year it seems I'm doing almost all of my shopping online, but there is still plenty of time left to hit up some stores. I'd definitely say it will end up being somewhere between 50-75% online. The final touches & stocking stuffers will need to be done in-person.

5. Amaryllis-snowdrop-poinsettia...your favorite winter blossom?

If it's not edible, I don't really care. 
If it's drawn with icing on a dessert, I'll prefer the one that is buttercream.

6. What is one thing on your personal Christmas wish list? I think we all want peace on earth so let's make this answer an actual item.

My hubby with a bow on his head? I assure you that he's one hot item.

But I sense that your question wanted me to be a bit more realistic...

There are a few things that I'm thinking I would like, though not necessarily for Christmas. One is a new cell phone--though I'm backing away from the smart phone thing to just a better phone with texting.
(I realized that a smart phone is very useful if you're away from the house a lot. However I spent most of my time hermiting, where I have a perfectly good acceptable laptop, that doubles as a lap warmer/burner, for all my inter-needs.)

I've also kind of gotten hooked the last couple weeks on my mom's Keurig coffee maker. Since Josh doesn't drink coffee, it might suit us better to just make individual cups. So that's a possibility as well. 

I'm supposed to be giving Josh ideas for my gift, but since the mountainous region of Afghanistan isn't known for it's shopping, I told him that I could just click "buy" on my own.

7. If you could only use one word today what would it be?

I'd better stick with the safe bet and go with "No."
After all, I have a couple kids.

And I also need to be prepared to reply in case I am propositioned on the street... Why, you look beautiful in your jeans and sweatshirt-- would you run away with me?

Hey. It could happen.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Today I took the kids to story hour at the local library. The kids area was actually really nice, so I plan to go back again soon. At the start of story time there were only a few other kids there besides mine, and the librarian made it a point to say that it was apparently just a girls' day today.

Maybe time for a haircut for the little fella?

I don't think he looks like a girl all that much.
And he's the sweetest guy in the whole wide world.
And he says the word mama more than I thought was possible.

He starts and ends his sentences with it.
For example: Mama, do you see my picture Mama? Mama I colored it with a blue crayon mama. Mama, do you like it Mama?

It would be totally annoying if he didn't come up to me every few minutes to rub his cheek against mine.
He's a nuzzler.
And I can't get enough of him.

He can call me mama as much as he wants. Between the hours of 8am and 8pm.

Oh, and Josh he made that candy cane for you during craft time at the library. But then he decided you wouldn't mind too much if he just kept it for himself. ;)

He's special.