Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day 2017

Today we honor those who lost their lives while serving this great country.


Here is a list of my Fallen Classmates, 2006 U. S. Naval Academy graduates:

Brandon Barrett
Daniel Bartle
Nicholas Bourgeois (a dear friend)
John Coghlan
Jay Dixon
Matthew McFarland
Michael Quin
Stanford Shaw

I'm not sure how many of Chet's classmates (class of 2005) have lost their lives in service, but I know of one, someone we both knew: Elizabeth "Betsy" Kealy. She was a wonderful person and friend.

I hope you had an enjoyable Memorial Day weekend, and were able to offer up a prayer of thanksgiving for those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.



Sunday, May 28, 2017

Sunday

Happy Sunday!

The kids and I had a great morning at church with Didi and Papa Dave, and then Didi and I spend the majority of the day reorganizing her pantry -- not a planned project, but definitely a satisfying one!

The moving truck came Wednesday and carted everything away, leaving us with empty rooms (which always seem smaller empty than when filled with furniture...?), tumbleweeds of dust, and Easter-colored Hershey Kisses candy wrappers (the two culprits were aged five and older, and were NOT Chet and/or me). Chet and Sydney spent Wednesday night in the nearly empty house so that Sydney could attend her last day of school (the actual last day is June 1st, but thankfully she is excused the last three days) and so that Chet could pack the last of our things into his truck. He and Sydney joined the rest of us in New Braunfels Thursday evening.

This is my favorite stage of moving, "stuff"-wise. When everything is packed safely in the moving van, and all you're left with are the things you (mostly) really need. ("Mostly," because I may or may not have several rolls of washi tape, all of the kids' headlamps, and about 12 bottles of lotion I almost never use in my possession currently. #necessities) It's so nice and easy to keep track of and organize only a couple of suitcases worth of items. I'm always a little mad to see all of the boxes the movers haul into our new home, wondering why on earth we thought we needed it all in the first place.

Anyway, Chet spent Thursday night and Friday with us, and left for California Saturday morning. He spent Saturday night in El Paso, and is staying with one of our friends in the L.A. area for the next two nights. He's only a few hours from our new town at this point, and I'm so thankful he's had an uneventful trip so far.

I hope your Memorial Day weekend has so far been full of fun, relaxation, and perhaps even a bit of organizing -- more about Memorial Day tomorrow!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Back in the Saddle

Here's the deal: I've been busy, but I've also been spending free time (that I could have spent posting here) mostly reading. I'm doing another Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge (both of them, actually), and it seems I think I'm supposed to finish the challenge(s) before the 4th of July rather than New Years Eve.

Anyway, we really have been busier than usual. Isn't the month of May, with Mother's Day and the end of school, always a hectic time of year? Our extended family also celebrates several May birthdays. On top of that, we're gearing up for our big move from Texas to California. We get more and more used to moving (and a fraction more efficient) each time we move, but if I think too long and hard about the disorganized and extremely inconvenient nature of moving in general...well, let's just not go there.

I should clarify: when I say "gearing up" for our big move, what I mean is that the moving company sent people to pack up our house last Friday (May 19th), and they showed up again this morning to finish. It took these fine, efficient people 6.5 total hours to put all of our earthly possessions into boxes, while Chet and I sat around eating donuts and feeling impressed by, and appreciative of, their hard work. (That sounds sarcastic, but it's not! They were great!)

(Please note: we shared the donuts with said fine, efficient people.)

So really we're past the "gearing up" phase and more accurately in the "there's no turning back now" phase. Our house is a sea of boxes, and the moving truck will come pick all of them (and our furniture) up Wednesday. Chet, Sydney, and Lorelei are still staying in our house so that Sydney can attend school and Lorelei can go to her gymnastics class, and Ford, Ruthie, and I are staying with Didi and Papa Dave in New Braunfels.

Moving IS inconvenient. For example, Chet will have to make breakfast work tomorrow with two plastic spoons and a single paper coffee cup (Starbucks, size Tall), out of which the girls will eat cereal. But there's also a fun flipside: today after school he took the girls to the bowling alley and then out to dinner (not our normal Monday night routine!). I have to keep reminding myself that it's all an adventure.

I also have to keep reminding myself that even though we're in the midst of a move and summer vacation is quickly approaching (my least favorite time of year), I can still have a routine. I miss recording our family memories and the things that my kids say and the random things that pop into my head, so I'm going to make time for blogging again. But I have to be honest: without the use of our home computer (I'll be using Didi's computer for the majority of the summer), I won't be able to post many pictures (if any). I'm fine with that, but I know that pictures make this space more exciting, so I apologize in advance. Pictures or no pictures, I'm getting back in the saddle!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Easter

I hope everyone had a lovely Easter weekend -- He is risen!

Our Easter festivities started last Wednesday, when we took a picture with the Easter bunny at the mall:
Obviously, I'm kidding. We did SEE the Easter bunny, but didn't actually sit with him. I'm not sure any of these three would have been brave enough (Sydney would have).

We also dyed some eggs during the week (we went all out by dying NINE WHOLE EGGS):

Lorelei was off school Wednesday and Friday for Easter, and Sydney was off Friday (Chet wasn't off at all). On Friday Didi and Papa Dave, as well as my aunt and uncle and cousin (who were visiting Didi and Papa Dave), drove up to Austin to spend the day with us. We had fun just catching up, and then going out to dinner. Uncharacteristically, I suggested we take a picture after dinner to commemorate the visit:



Saturday morning I went to Target with Sydney and Lorelei (they are SO SILLY when I take them places together -- sometimes I would rather have in tow irrational 3-year old Ford and uncommunicative 1-year old Ruthie). I can't even remember what we bought, so obviously it was a crucial shopping trip.

Our church held two Easter services this year, one Saturday evening and one Sunday morning. We were scheduled to work in one of the 3-year old classrooms Sunday morning, so we went to church as a family Saturday evening. Thankfully Uncle Grant was there to snap a family picture:

After church I tried to get a good picture of Ruthie's dress, but she kept running toward me (ha!):

I tried to use Ford to anchor her in place, but she was suspicious of that:

After church and nap time on Sunday, we gave the kids their Easter baskets and did a small hunt in the backyard:

I don't have any pictures of the hunt, because in my experience they never turn out well (sort of like pictures of kids unwrapping presents -- those never turn out for me), so I decided to leave my phone in the house and just watch.

I was going to say that it was nice to get back to our normal routine Monday morning, but then I remembered that I had an 8 a.m. dentist appointment yesterday, and that I took Lorelei, Ford, and Ruthie to the grocery store after picking up Lorelei from school (I NEVER go to the grocery store then, but we desperately needed bread and milk and bananas). Let me tell you...EVERYONE was at the grocery store at 1:15 p.m. yesterday. Was it because they were off work for "Easter Monday?" Or did everyone run out of food over the weekend (the store was closed Sunday)? Or is it always so busy Monday early afternoon? Whatever the reason, it was intense.

Happy Tuesday, friends!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

What Weddings and Moving Have in Common

***This is me pretending like three weeks haven't passed since my last post. And that this isn't only my third post of 2017.***

Well, I'm not even sure what to say first. Happy belated St. Patrick's Day? Happy spring? All I know is that since I last posted on March 1st, Chet's parents came to visit from Florida, we celebrated Ruthie's 1st birthday, we spent Spring Break in New Braunfels (March 13-17), and Chet received his official orders to Naval Air Station Lemoore, CA. We're not exactly sure when we're moving: sometime between Chet's May graduation and the start of the kids' 2017-2018 school year in August.

I have decided that military moves are much like weddings. Here's how:

1. Receiving official military orders is as anticipated and as exciting as receiving an engagement ring. I wish I could say, "just kidding!", but it's true.

2. As soon as you are engaged, you quickly notify your family and closest friends, as well as your 614 Facebook friends (some of whom you've never actually met), and you set a date. Same with military orders: excitedly notify family, closest friends, and update Facebook status (not necessarily in that order), then start looking at the calendar and calculating when exactly your life might be upheaved. UNLIKE a wedding, military moves don't always happen on the day you plan, but at least you don't lose your deposit on the band (although having a band play while all of your stuff is getting put in boxes sounds pretty fun, now that I think about it!).

3. There are tons of initial details that need to happen when planning a wedding: securing a venue, choosing the perfect picture for your "save the date" cards, creating your guest list so you know who (and who not) to send the save-the-date cards to, dress shopping, booking the perfect photographer/videographer (do those still exist?)/caterer/wedding planner/flower grower/celebrity baker. Same goes for military moves: as soon as possible you need to decide if you're going to live on base or off base, register for school (Sydney will start 2nd grade at her THIRD elementary school), get on preschool waiting lists, and dive into the seemingly never-ending and suspiciously repetitive paperwork that will pair you with a moving company. A company that will hopefully get you moved CLOSE to the date you were originally hoping for.

4. Depending on the length of your engagement, there is usually a lull between all of that initial planning and the tasks that can't really happen until the wedding date approaches. For example, you COULD scour Pinterest for tons of DIY crafts to make your wedding event the most special experience on earth, but you don't HAVE to. Much like a move, you COULD purge every single unnecessary belonging and organize your kids' craft materials into see-through, carefully labeled storage tubs, but you don't HAVE to. It might make the wedding day/moving day more magical/a teensy bit easier to deal with on the other side, but does it HAVE to happen? Nah.

5. Wedding week has arrived! You're now buried in a mountain of last-minute details, wondering why you didn't just elope. Military moves (heck, ANY move) are just the same. You can try to control every detail, but you eventually have to throw up and your hands and let the chips fall where they may.  Probably potato chips, because 'moving' and 'junk food' are synonyms.

I can't think of any more wedding/moving analogies. I had Chet read this before he had his morning coffee, and all of my dry humor went right over his head. I think he was trying to remember if we had actually hired a flower grower or a celebrity baker for our own wedding (for the record, we did NOT).

In case you too haven't had your first cup of coffee, or just plain aren't in the mood, here are some random, hopefully redeeming pictures to make visiting this blog worth your while:

Sydney and Lorelei like to dress up Ruthie in their clothes. This is my payback for doing the same to my little brother, and our family cat:

Sydney and Uncle Grant after Tuesday night gymnastics (he coaches at the gym where she and Lorelei take classes):

Tulips (and gloomy weather) are my favorite:

A few weeks ago there was a tornado warning just as Chet and I were going to bed. We normally don't freak out over weather, but we both felt like it would be safest to take cover. It was a fun 45 minutes in the downstairs half bathroom (the kids were super annoyed, ha!) (Sydney's orange knee barely pictured):

In Februrary I participated in a kids' consignment sale that doubled as a fundraiser for the MOPS group I attend. The front room of our house was the staging area for a couple of weeks, and Chet and I agree NEVER AGAIN:

We've found ourselves at Cabela's lately more often than I'd personally prefer, but when in Rome...:

Also at Cabela's:

Happy Wednesday!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Goodbye, February

This post was going to be titled "Obligatory February Post," but since it's March 1st that doesn't work.

(How is it already March 1st?!)

There's so much to catch up on, I'm not sure where to start. We have a big birthday coming up in 5 days (Ruthie turns one!), and we're super excited that Grammy and Papa Greg are coming in from Florida to celebrate.

What else...let me just share a few super belated photos (from December) and call it a day.

Lorelei was Mary in her Christmas program:

Didi and Lorelei
Lorelei participated in her gymnastics Christmas show:


Chet and I attended our Sunday School's Christmas party:


We sure will miss this Sunday School group when we move:

Ruthie was an elf:

Christmas Eve:

December 26th at Didi's:

It was rough:


SUPER rough:

Headstands:

We took Ruthie to an orthopedist to make sure her hips were normal (something her pediatrician has been tracking since birth); she's perfectly fine!:

I hope your February was amazing and full of love; on to March!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Obligatory January Post

Well, apparently I needed to take a 6-week blogging break! It wasn't planned, but since I last posted we visited my dad for a few days, celebrated Christmas, visited New Braunfels, celebrated the New Year and Ford's birthday, Ruthie and I spent a weekend in Dallas, and we celebrated Chet's birthday, Sydney's birthday, and my birthday.

Oh, and I've been on an organizing/home purging RAMPAGE, so that's been taking up a lot of my time/mental space.

I've also been undergoing procedures to correct the varicose veins in my legs (a result of my last three pregnancies!), which involves driving to a clinic about an hour away from our house about once a week. I've done that six times in the last month.

So let's just push the blogging reset button.

This will be short, because, as usual, I decided to start writing a post right when Ford and Ruthie are waking up and ready to get out of bed, and when I should be showering/getting dressed for the day. But instead I'm sipping my coffee and typing this, while Lorelei works on a bead project next to me, asking every few seconds if she can "help" (not if I want to get this post published before lunchtime, Lorelei -- sorry).

I don't even know where to start, picture-wise, so I'm going to share a couple of random ones, and promise to update with pictures over the next few days.

This picture personifies their relationship: Lorelei bossing, and Ford refusing to be bossed.

Ruthie is our Irish (looking) baby, even though we aren't Irish.

The kids received gift certificates to a local ice cream shop for Christmas, so we've had fun cashing those in (I make the big girls share, and then Ford and I share a cup; Chet usually wants a flavor no one else likes, so he gets his own).

Happy Tuesday, y'all! And happy almost-February -- I know most people are happy that long, dreary January is nearly over!