Sunday, November 29, 2015


I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving!

We did.  We were invited, for the third year in a row, to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with our friends Tom and Elizabeth.  We were also stationed with them in Mississippi; the first year we had Thanksgiving with them Chet was deployed, and they invited all of the wives and their children over for dinner.  Obviously, we were delighted when we they moved to this area shortly after we did, and were kind enough to invite us over again (and again).  Also, the weather was lovely, which is hit or miss in northern VA at Thanksgiving.

The next couple of paragraphs are going to sound like complaining, but I promise they're not.

On Tuesday (two days before Thanksgiving), I was out running errands.  (Side note: Sydney and Lorelei both have school on Tuesdays, and I also have a babysitter come to our house on Tuesdays after preschool drop off to keep Ford for a few hours.  She is a nursing student who lives close by, and she's the best.  So she comes on Tuesdays, and that's the day I schedule all of my OB appointments, etc. and plan to run any errands that are painful to complete with children in tow.  Lorelei also has ballet at 1 p.m. on Tuesdays, so that allows me to pick her up from school, feed her lunch -- usually in the car parked outside of ballet -- and take her to ballet class without interrupting Ford's nap time.  It's nice that Lorelei and I can have one-on-one time each week.)

Anyway, I was running errands, some of which were on a nearby base.  I went grocery shopping, and then into another store afterward, carrying just my wallet and phone (I know I had my phone with me, because I was talking to Chet on the phone while I walked into the store).  I bought what I needed, walked back to my car, and drove to the library, where I realized I no longer had my phone.  Which means it's lost.  But I know exactly where I lost it: somewhere between the store and my car, which is about a distance of 200 yards.  I'm sure it fell out of my pocket, because my hands were full as I walked from the store back to my car.

(No need to mention the "Find My iPhone" app.  I accessed the app both with our iPad and computer, and my phone was listed as "offline."  It was still turned on, because you could call it and hear it ring before my voicemail picked up.  Later in the evening it went straight to voicemail, surely because the battery died.  I find it quite strange it was offline, because that means it wasn't picking up any sort of internet signal.)

I physically retraced my steps and didn't find it.  I asked the clerks in the store where I shopped, and the store next door, if anyone had seen it.  I went to the security office, which was also very close to where I lost it, and where items like this are required to be turned in.  No one has turned it in; I think I'll give it one more day, and then cave into getting a new phone.

Tuesday was the girls' last day of school for the week before the Thanksgiving break.  After the phone drama, I was really looking forward to not having to wake up and go anywhere on Wednesday morning.  But, alas, Sydney woke us up several times in the middle of the night on Tuesday, complaining of her ear hurting.  She never wakes up in the middle of the night, and her ear never hurts, so I knew we had to go to the doctor Wednesday.  (Raise your hand if you don't want to make a trip to the ER over Thanksgiving break!)

We secured a 10:25 a.m. doctor appointment on Wednesday morning (about a block from where I lost my phone; I did a drive by to see if I could see a crushed phone with a pink case laying near where I parked, just in case I had missed it the day before).  The appointment itself was quick; it was obvious she had an ear infection in her left ear.  The painful part came next, when we had to wait for her prescription.  Let's just say my two youngest children were not the picture of serenity.  It took about an hour for the prescription to be filled, and then we bolted.

Okay, so all of that sounded kind of complain-y, right?  I agree.  But let's focus on what I have to be thankful for, rather than the inconveniences:

1. Chet has a "Blackberry" for work, so he was able to leave his regular phone with me during the day  (I say "Blackberry," because it's actually an iPhone, but Blackberries will be forever synonymous with work phones, at least in my mind).

2. We have a Mac computer, so I was still able to see texts come through from people who use iPhones.

3. All of my pictures download automatically to my computer, so I haven't lost any of those.

4. It's amazing how much more clear my mind seems when I don't have a phone to distract me.  I've been blissfully unaware of what's happening in the world of social media.  I could get used to this.

5. Sydney only has an ear infection; she is otherwise healthy, and ear infections are easily treated.  

6. I am often thankful for Tricare, and the ability to easily make same-day doctor appointments -- for free.  And even though waiting for them to fill her prescription made my blood pressure elevate to unhealthy levels, I didn't have to load everyone up to go somewhere else -- it's one-stop shopping.  In fact, we were home before noon; not bad at all considering she had a 10:25 appointment.

There are hundreds of other things I am thankful for, obviously: God, Jesus, my family, our health, being an American, etc.  But, as we all know, it can be hard to focus on all of the blessings in our lives when faced with inconveniences like losing phones and schlepping three kids to the doctor's office the day before Thanksgiving.  I wonder how I might have reacted had it not been Thanksgiving week; would I have stayed so calm had it been the middle of February, freezing cold weather and driving through dirty snow, with no signs of spring in sight?  Or the middle of blazing hot, schedule-less July?  Probably not, if I'm honest.

So what did we do the rest of the weekend?  We stayed home on Black Friday.  Late morning on Black Friday Chet asked, "So what's the plan for today?"  Me: "It's Black Friday.  There is no plan.  Except to stay home."  We sorted and starting setting out Christmas decorations; we played outside.

Saturday we made the mistake of going to Target.  We were out of toilet paper and toothpaste, so we didn't really have a choice.  I'm sure it wasn't nearly as crowded as the day before, but it was still a wee bit stressful.  We bought a gingerbread house village (four very small gingerbread houses) to put together.  Last year we bought a pre-assembled gingerbread house; as soon as the girls and I started assembling the village, I remembered why.  Somehow we managed, but we're not winning any awards.  There was icing everywhere (including lots in the girls' bellies).

This morning we went to Sunday school and church.  It was nice to get back to our normal routine, and our pastor's sermon was about focusing on participating in actual human interaction (rather than being glued to our cell phones) this Advent season.  I get a gold star, because I've been doing that for the last five matter if the reason is losing my cell phone...

And now it's Sunday night.  The kitchen is clean, the kids are bathed, and the Christmas decorations are mostly finished.  The kids are loving "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (the original):

Happy Thanksgiving!  (PS, if you want to see more pictures than just this one, click here.  Lots of pictures of the girls from the Christmas season two years ago; everything Sydney is wearing in the pictures Lorelei is wearing this season!)


Sunday, November 22, 2015

22-, 24-, and 25-Weeks and a Name (don't get too excited)

I guess it's time for a belly picture update since I haven't posted one since the 20-week point!  (By the way, the word "belly" makes me cringe by the end of each pregnancy.  I thought you'd like to know that.)  

Besides these pictures, I don't have any baby updates.  My next OB appointment is December 8th, at which point I'll be just shy of 28 weeks.

(Click here to see 18- and 20-week pictures.)
22 Weeks

24 Weeks

24 Weeks again (because one picture just wasn't enough)

25 Weeks
As far as Baby Girl's name...we haven't chosen one yet.  I know we still have plenty of time, but we had decided the other kids' names by this point, and I'm starting to get twitchy.  As long as we decide before I go into labor, I'll be happy, but sooner rather than later would be nice.

I'm not sure why we're having so much trouble...there are lot of names I like, but a myriad of reasons why we won't choose certain names for our own children (too popular, too trendy, too hard to pronounce, etc.).  Also, we will probably not choose a name that starts with "S," "L," or "F," as we'd like for Baby Girl to have her "own" letter.  I think we have to stay away from "W" names too, because of our last name (too bad, since there are some really good ones out there).  So nixing those letters narrows the field considerably.  Ideally, I'd also like for her to have a name that begins with a consonant, rather than a vowel, since the other kids' names start with consonants, but that's not a deal breaker for me.

So, as you can imagine, we have a very short list to work with.  I didn't think we would come up with/consider any "new" names (ones that we haven't considered before), but we actually are, so that's interesting.  Some of you who are familiar with our name list may be surprised by what we choose.  :-)

I'd love to hear YOUR name suggestions!

Friday, November 20, 2015

No time like the present.

There's no time like the present, especially when you haven't blogged in nine days, and this is only your second post for the month of November.  In years past (except 2013), November has been a good blogging month for me...and since everyone loves a scapegoat, I'll provide one to explain my lack of blogging:

Fyodor Dostoevsky.

About a decade ago I decided I needed to read The Brothers Karamazov (I can't remember why), and my mom even bought me the version (it's originally written in the not-at-all-hard-to-master Russian language) I wanted for Christmas that year.  (This version was published in 1990, and is hailed as the most faithful to the Russian original.)  Anyway, it's been gathering dust on our bookshelf since then, but I decided this was the year I was finally going to read it, thanks to the 2015 reading challenge.

I have to admit, I almost chickened out on reading it since the year was well underway and I hadn't started yet, but I took the bull by the horns instead.  I'm on page 662 of 776, and assuming my brain doesn't break before I finish, my goal is to finish by the end of this month (so that I still have a month to read the last book on my reading challenge list).

PS, this is not a book I will ever recommend for pleasure.  In fact, do yourself a favor and just read the Sparknotes.  (I haven't been reading the Sparknotes, except to help me with one chapter -- a chapter that gives insight into the mind of the smartest of the three Karamazov brothers.  I literally had no idea what I was reading.  I've never felt so inadequate.)

Enough about that.  Here's the rundown of my nearly completed 2015 reading challenge:

41:A Portrait of My Father – a book in a genre you don’t typically read (2/16/15)
Cinder – a book recommended by someone with great taste (2/17/15)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – a book you’ve been meaning to read (2/26/15)
Back When We Were Grownups – a book by a favorite author (3/8/15) 
The Fevera book you chose because of the cover (3/21/15)
Matildaa book from your childhood (3/26/15)
The Girl on the Train – a book published this year (4/11/15)
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – a book currently on the best-seller list (8/12/15)
The Help – a book everyone’s read but you (9/6/15)
Little Women – a book your mom loves (10/9/15)

Like I said, if my brain doesn't break I'll have finished The Brothers Karamazov by November 30th, and the last book I need to read for the challenge is one "I should have read in high school."  I was going to choose Jane Eyre, but it's just not going to happen.  I think it's going to be Flowers for Algernon instead (because it's 200 pages shorter and not British literature).

(By the way, I can't get rid of the indentions in the paragraph above.)

If you're still awake, congratulations!

We have a busy weekend ahead of us.  I have Living Christmas Tree rehearsal tomorrow morning, and then Sydney has a playdate at 2:30 with one of the little girls in her class (I'm chuckling at what I just typed -- planned playdates are so northern Virginia in my opinion...thank goodness we're moving to Texas soon, where of course there are zero planned playdates).  Sunday is our day to teach Pre-K Sunday school, and then Sunday afternoon we're all attending a birthday party.  So, whew.

Here are three pictures to tide you over until the next time I blog (January?!?! just kidding...):
Sydney showing off her new fleece turtleneck.  And making an awfully smirky face for the camera.
Lorelei and her friend at dance class.  The theme this week was "The Lion King" (the dance studio provides the costumes -- if you know me at all you'd know that I'd stay far, far away from a dance studio that requires you provide your own costumes on a weekly basis).
Bubby's new thing: "Two mah's!"  (He calls his pacifier a "mah."  I'm not even going to pretend like I know why.)
I hope you had a GREAT week!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans' Day 2015

Looking back at our blog, it seems that I've never written a post solely focused on Veterans' Day (perhaps I've only posted on Facebook?).  Anyway, below are mentions of Veterans' Day in previous years:

Veterans' Day 2014 (see bottom of post)
Veterans' Day 2012 (see bottom of post)

Chet is off work today; he is currently attending a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.  School is still in session, so we dropped Sydney off as usual this morning, but Lorelei doesn't go to preschool on Wednesdays anyway, so she, Chet, Ford, and I will enjoy the day off.

One of my other favorite veterans, Papa John (my dad) is flying in for a visit today, so we're super excited.  Papa Dave (also a veteran) and Didi are coming to visit mid-December.

It's crazy how few pictures I have of Chet and me in uniform (and I'm not sure we have a single picture of us together in uniform).  Oh, well.  Here are a couple, both of me, because it seems that any pictures I have of Chet in uniform are on the other (not currently plugged in) computer:

Thank you, Veterans -- those who served and who are currently serving!