Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving/Merry Christmas/Happy New Year!

Since I'm apparently too busy to blog, I'll retroactively wish you a happy Thanksgiving and a merry Christmas, and preemptively wish you a happy new year!

The holiday season always seems to fly by in a flurry, but this year was actually probably our calmest Christmas yet. The Christmas season felt plenty long because I starting putting out decorations (not the tree, but other things) well before Thanksgiving. Which resulted in me taking down the tree and several other decorations Christmas day because I was OVER IT. #grinch

We didn't attend a ton of Christmas parties, there were no school plays or activities (our homeschool group met for the last time of the year at the end of November), and Chet and I didn't put any pressure on ourselves to do things that we sometimes feel compelled to do at Christmastime (picture with Santa, etc.).

And guess what? OUR KIDS WERE FINE. We all were.

My mom (Didi!) came to visit us for a week December 9th - 16th. We had so much fun just spending time with her, exploring things in Lemoore we hadn't explored yet, and celebrating Christmas with her early. Her visit also forced me to be ahead of the game as far as gifts and wrapping (it was great!).

The evening of the 16th our church held the traditional Christmas candlelight service (which Chet, Sydney, Lorelei, and I GREATLY enjoyed), and Christmas eve morning I took Sydney and Lorelei to "big church" (rather than dropping them off at Sunday school) so they could witness several members of the congregation get baptized. (Ford went to Sunday school, and Chet and Ruthie stayed home with hacking coughs.)

As far as Christmas gifts, this year I made a detailed list in Microsoft Word that kept me organized and on track, and I started early (it even included stocking stuffers). But Christmas gifts were also greatly simplified, because most of our Christmas budget was spent on our trip to Florida (we leave tomorrow!) to visit Chet's family (COUSINS!!! Ages 12, 8, 7, 7, 6, 6, 3, 3, 1, 1!!!). I was prepared to explain to our kids Christmas morning that flying our family of six across the country is expensive, but there was no need because apparently Chet and I have set the bar EXTREMELY LOW when it comes to Christmas gifts (insert several cry-laughing emojis).

On Christmas night Sydney said, "This was the best Christmas ever!" I asked her, "You didn't mind not getting any toys?" She said, "Nah, we don't need any more toys" (insert several crying-for-real emojis).

For the record, here's what Sydney opened Christmas morning...
In her stocking: Mints, gum, a new toothbrush, toothpaste, a pair of Old Navy leggings, and a Star Wars pillowcase
From Santa: pajamas with dinosaurs printed on them and a Star Wars Little Golden Book titled "I Am a Sith" (yikes)
From us: Two white bath towels with her name embroidered on them in purple thread, a book, and a Star Wars body pillow

She also opened two "group" gifts: from Grammy a PJ Masks cape and mask (Sydney, Lorelei, and Ford each got one) and from Papa John a card announcing they were going to take six art classes next year).

As I type all this out I'm realizing how ridiculous it is that I called this "a simple Christmas." A truly simple Christmas would be spending time with family and reflecting on the gift of Christ's birth AND NOTHING ELSE. As Americans we battle entitlement and excess on a daily basis, and even more so on behalf of our children. I'm always having to teach our children about "real problems" (no access to clean water is a real problem, turning off the television is NOT a real problem). It's a never-ending, usually discouraging battle, and the worldview of American children (heck, AMERICANS) can be so obnoxious (this of course doesn't apply to everyone, but it applies to MANY).

So even though our Christmas was a lot more than "simple," I'm thankful for Sydney's grateful comment. And I hope YOUR Christmas was lovely. On to 2018!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Tuesday Night Already?

I meant to blog every day this month, but I think taking a break on the weekends is more realistic. And apparently this past weekend was a 3-day weekend, since it's already Tuesday and I haven't posted anything yet.

I'm thankful for safe neighborhoods and for those machines that wash and dry clothes for you (also known as "washers" and "dryers"). And that we have such amazing machines in our homes, mere steps from where the dirty laundry piles up. There's not too much dirty laundry in our house right now, but there are piles (and piles and piles) of clean laundry, so I'm going to stop writing now and go fold them.

After I wash the dishes. And tidy the house so that I don't trip over anything in the morning, before I've had my coffee.

(By the way, Chet is out of town, which is why I'm thankful for safe neighborhoods and why there are still so many household chores for me to do at 9 p.m. He certainly shares the load.)

Happy Tuesday night/Wednesday morning!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Target Popcorn

This year I've decided to be more lighthearted in blogging about what I am thankful for. The big, important things are a given, so I'll talk about the small, usually insignificant things I'm thankful for on a daily basis.

Hence, the title "Target Popcorn," because I'm super thankful for it. We get some every single time we go to the store. I have the cashier divide it into four of their red bags, so there's never any fighting (I learned that the hard way). Ruthie makes a mess with it, but it keeps her distracted long enough for us to get out of the store alive.

Plus, I get to eat what's leftover on the way home.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Great Wins

Today I'm thankful for great wins. As in, the Houston Astros winning the World Series. Could there have been a better, more appropriate city/team to win this year? I think not.

I remember in 2010 when the New Orleans Saints won the Super Bowl -- even more than four years after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf coast, people seemed really glad for that team and city to experience and enjoy such a feat.

Enjoy the win, Houstonians. May it be a light amidst the hard and work and struggle of rebuilding a great city.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

A Month of Thankfulness

Yay, November! Welcome!

I tore down most of our Halloween stuff -- ahhhhhhhh. (That's a sigh of satisfaction.)

Today I'm thankful for amazing neighbors. The houses on our street are a little spread out, and some don't have families living in them right now, so we decided to congregate with three other families on our street in a single driveway. We had chili (three kinds!), homemade bread and cornbread, and chocolate chip pumpkin cake. But the best part was the fellowship. It was a great Halloween!

Notice Ruthie using her web shooters like Spiderman-Ford.

Happy November!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween!

You know the Halloween Grinch in me has been itching to take down/put away/throw away all things Halloween for at least a week now, but I'm forcing myself to wait until tomorrow. (Confession: I have secretly thrown away a few things already, but shh, don't tell the kids.)

We don't have a ton of Halloween-y decorations, but we have enough to where I'm ready for them to disappear as soon as November 1st arrives. Like most people, we have lots of Christmas decorations, so I like to "quiet" the house as much as possible for three or so weeks before it's time to put up the Christmas tree.

Last Friday the Youth Center on base had a little Halloween event that my neighbor and I took the children to (our husbands had an after-work event). The kids had a blast, as they always do at these types of things. For me, it's the perfect mix of fun for the kids, without the overstimulation of Disney World (apologies to everyone who loves Disney World!). And it's free, so there's that.

Ruthie didn't wear her Navy cheerleader costume to the event, but she will tonight. All of our daughters are Navy cheerleaders for Halloween their first and second Halloweens, because we have the costumes, and...well, that's pretty much the only reason.
Oh, and we have Navy cheerleader outfits in size 4 and size 6, which I forgot about until I started searching for this picture. Basically, we only need to figure out costumes for our daughters every other year.

We carved pumpkins with some of our neighbors Sunday afternoon. Chet took the lead on our pumpkin, because he's the creative one, and I helped the kids make masks (by "help" I mean "watched").

Chet told Ford, "The Daddy pumpkin ate the little boy pumpkin because the little boy pumpkin wouldn't stay in bed at night." Thankfully that image didn't give Ford nightmares...yet.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Ford Funnies

I should be posting about Lorelei turning six last week, but I want to record some things Ford has said lately before I forget forever (I'm convinced 3-years old is the most quotable age!):

1. He calls flossing "clawing his teeth."

2. Friday we announced we were going to the zoo. Everyone shouted with glee. Ford excitedly asked, "Do they have maps there?!" Um...yes? He barely looked at the animals; he just wanted to navigate us through the zoo with a paper map.

3. Ford pointed at a Costco security guard and wanted to know who "that man" was. Chet explained he was a security guard, and that his job is to call the police if there's any trouble at Costco. Ford informed us, "Yeah! And then the police call Spider-Man!"

Happy Monday, friends!

Monday, September 25, 2017

"It's the MOST wonderful time of the year!" (and Ford's Preschool)

Happy fall (a.k.a. the MOST wonderful time of the year -- after Christmas, of course)! Last Friday was officially the first day of this glorious season, but I've had my fall decorations out since September 1st, my fall-smelling candle burning since August, and we've already gone through two bags of candy corn (yikes).

Many places are still hot (ahem, ALL the places we've previously lived), but here in the central valley of California...IT ACTUALLY FEELS LIKE FALL! It warmed up a little this weekend, but last Thursday the high temperature was 68, and it was 54 degrees when we walked out the door for church yesterday (when church was over it was 70, but whatevs). People here tend to complain about the weather, but I like it. Because even when the temperature hovers at 100 degrees, IT'S NOT HUMID. And that, my friends, makes all the difference.

Anyway, in addition to indoor fall decorations, I bought my mums about three weeks ago, and they're still alive. They must be scared to die, because I give them the evil eye any time they start to wilt (and after giving them the evil I move them out of the sun).

Completely unrelated to fall (kind of), after Labor Day Ford started a preschool program at the Child Development Center on base. He goes Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m., and they even feed him lunch before I pick him up. The CDC is less than a mile from our house, so we almost always walk/stroll/ride bikes to drop him off and pick him up. This schedule has helped a lot in establishing our new homeschool schedule (more about that later).

It might seem strange/counter intuitive to send one of my children to preschool after deciding to homeschool the older ones, but it works for us. Bonus that it's a super affordable program within walking distance of our house (thanks, government!).

Happy Monday!

Monday, September 11, 2017


(You can read my thoughts from 9/11/12 and 9/11/14 here.)

Someone posted this (kid-friendly, 5-8 year old-ish) video in one of my Facebook groups, and the girls and I watched it this morning. It's so important to teach our children about our nation's history (even recent history!). I personally think parents should guide the discussion with their children about 9/11, rather than leaving it just to school teachers (although schools should talk about it too!). People 30-ish and older remember that day with acute clarity; it's important to pass along the memories of how we wept as a nation, and witnessed such bravery in the aftermath.

Sydney, Lorelei, and I specifically discussed the bravery of the people on the planes, and of the firefighters, EMTs, policeman, doctors, regular people, etc. who worked so selflessly after the attacks. We talked about how scared the people on the planes, inside the Towers, and at the Pentagon (where their Daddy used to work!) must have been. We thanked God that no one we knew lost their life, and we prayed for the people in the world who feel like they have to do bad things.

Never forget, my friends.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

September, Finally

(Pretty much every year I mention how happy I am it's September, but I want to let my Aunt Shannon know that I think August is great because it's her birthday month! One of our nephew's as well. But besides those two days, August is brutal.)

Happy September, everyone! I've been absent, because in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, I've not been motivated to post on social media. I'm originally from the Houston area, my dad still lives there, and while he and his home were unscathed by the storm, I have SO MANY FRIENDS whose lives were affected. I know personally at least a dozen people whose homes were (badly) damaged, or destroyed altogether. THANKFULLY I can't name a single person who lost their life due to the storm (I know there were some -- heartbreaking). Through Facebook I've been keeping up with the damage control and clean-up process, and I can't help but feel guilty that I'm not also helping. People say the news coverage doesn't do the damage from the storm justice; that it's surreal to see a previously healthy, thriving neighborhood look like a war zone. AND THE SMELL. The smell is what my friends keep mentioning; I'm sure it's unimaginable.

Anyway, it's felt weird to post random pictures of my kids on Instagram or to write on this blog about how I get my kids to clean their rooms, while the majority of my friends are helping their parents tear out water-damaged sheetrock and put most of their earthly belongings on the curb for the trash company to collect. I'm ready to get back to it, but first I want to share how I've personally helped with Harvey's aftermath. It's not much, but every little bit helps:

Make a donation to the American Red Cross.

Make a donation to the Texas Diaper Bank.

Buy one of these shirts from Magnolia Market (100% of the proceeds go to Harvey relief if purchased by September 30th).

Now that I've written all that, I'm not sure how to finish... Okay, here's something for you: this year we decided to homeschool Sydney and Lorelei. Homeschooling has been on my mind for years now (although before I had children I said I would NEVER homeschool them), but this school year is the right time for us to give it a go. We're doing a program called Classical Conversations, which provides the curriculum (minus reading/spelling and math -- we choose our own curriculums for those subjects), and we meet with a community group each Tuesday morning. Yesterday was our 3rd week meeting with our community group, and I'm thankful to say we're happy with our schooling decision this year. More to come on this subject!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

When you only have 5 minutes... share a picture from the Grand Canyon.

We visited the Grand Canyon during our drive from Texas to California. Chet had visited growing up, but I had never been. It's monsoon season in that part of the country -- news to me -- so it was raining when we first arrived. It stopped about halfway through our visit (we only stayed about an hour and a half), and the view cleared considerably.

Perhaps the kids would have been more impressed if it hadn't been raining, but likely not. They were about as impressed with the Grand Canyon as they were the solar eclipse this week -- if asked, "Isn't it amazing?!" They would answer "Yes." Soon followed by, "Can I have a snack?"

Thursday, August 17, 2017

A Bedtime Snack

We usually eat dinner at 5:30 p.m. Sometimes as early as 5 p.m., a lot of times 6 p.m., but almost never as late as 6:30 p.m.

If we eat on the early side, or if certain small people in the house weren't a fan of what was served for dinner, the kids are usually hungry at bedtime. So they can have a banana, an applesauce pouch, or sometimes a Nutragrain bar (if I'm feeling generous) before going to sleep.

Last night Chet was in a hurry to put the kids to bed, because he was headed to the Navy Exchange (before it closed at 9 p.m.) to buy a charcoal grill that we had a coupon for.

***Side note: We left our gas grill in Austin because it was in pretty bad shape, and when Chet shared that he wanted a charcoal grill this time, I balked. Because in my head I'm ready and willing to  finally learn how to turn on a gas grill and subsequently use it, but in the real world that's probably not going to happen. I'll never learn how to cook on a difficult-to-use charcoal grill. But, as they say, never say never...***

Anyway, we put the kids (minus Ruthie) to bed a few minutes early, and Ford is at the age where he thinks it's okay to get out of bed several times for random reasons. Chet had already left, and Ruthie and I were in the kitchen, when Ford started "visiting" us. I can't remember why he got out of bed the first couple of times, but the third time he said, "I forgot to eat a banana." So he and Ruthie shared a banana (Ruthie prefers to hold her own bananas, but doesn't mind if her sisters or brother feed her one...she HATES when Chet or I try to feed her a banana).

Apparently Ruthie was extremely thankful for part of her brother's banana, because she tried to kiss Ford on the lips. But he wrenched his head away and said, "Ew! She has a dirty mouth!" But he said it with a fond smile on his face, so I'm certain he loves her despite her "dirty mouth."

Hopefully the kids eat plenty of dinner tonight, because I'm afraid the bananas are currently too green to eat.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Barstool Wars

Our new house has a bar in the kitchen that separates (connects?) the kitchen from the dining room. We had one like it in our Mayport, FL base house, and I really liked it. But now I LOVE it, because during the day (breakfast, lunch, snacks) the kids can sit at the bar and I can just throw food at them from the kitchen rather than bringing it over to the dining table and serving them like English royalty.

Here's a picture of the bar (while standing in the dining area) on the day the movers unloaded everything:

Here are the adorable barstools I bought from Wayfair on sale AND with a coupon:
I showed them to kids online before buying them, and everyone decided Sydney would have blue (her favorite color), Lorelei green, Ford red (because he likes Marshall from Paw Patrol), and Ruthie yellow (in about two years). 

But then...over the summer the kids started watching a show called PJ Masks, and since Ford insisted on identifying with Catboy (yes, Catboy) from the show, he no longer wanted the red stool, he wanted the BLUE stool. Because Catboy is blue and Owlette (the girl character on the show) is red, so obviously it was impossible for him to sit on a girly red stool. I can't believe I just explained all that, because it's just plain ridiculous.

We tried to come up with a fair system for Sydney and Ford to take turns using the blue stool, but I spent way too much time enforcing that system, and the blue stool became a stumbling block for my first and third child. So we waved bye-bye to the adorable primary-colored stools and welcomed white stools (only 3, because Ruthie may never use one while we live here):
Ruthie doesn't usually dine in her highchair in the midst of the barstools, but this day she did. And I wanted to capture the post-lunch mess all over the floor. I'm always on my hands and knees picking up the food that can't be picked up with a dust buster. Tell me I'm not alone.

In addition to arguing over the barstools, they also started (continued?) arguing over plate and bowl types/colors. I was on a rampage by this point, so this is what the kids use now:
It's this set from Target, plus I bought four more of the (smaller) salad plates, because that's what they use the most. 

You might be thinking, "Just teach your kids not to argue!" I mostly agree. My older girls especially know better (it doesn't mean they always comply, but they know). But the barstools were causing huge issues, and it really drove the point home when I got rid of them and replaced them with boring (to my kids) white. The plates just happened to follow on the heels of the barstools, plus I've been looking for an excuse to get rid of all of our mismatched plastic plates for years. (The tupperware is drives Chet and me crazy! What is the solution?!)

One last tidbit about the house. This is a picture of our living room in Austin:
See that blueish table? Chet built it when we were living in Alexandria, I had him spray paint it the blueish color in Austin, and as of yesterday it looks like this:
It's hard to see in the picture, but the legs are this shiny copper color. The top is covered with this marble contact paper. Isn't Chet the best? He can't wait to carry out the plans I have for our bedroom furniture...

Thursday, August 10, 2017

*tap, tap* "Is thing thing on?"

I was trying to remember when I last posted, and was sure it was some time in late June. Since the actual date was Memorial Day, that misremembered late-June blog post must be one of the many that only exist in my head.

Here's the problem with life: you can always make an excuse for not doing what you feel led to do. Most of us have hundreds of legitimate excuses. Here are some of mine: Sydney, Lorelei, Ford, Ruthie, the laundry they create, the dishes they dirty, the books they need read to them, the books I  need read to me (well, sort of -- I read my own books, but it takes time and brainpower to do that). Those are just a few of my own excuses. And can I also just say that it takes A LOT of time time to prepare, serve, and clean up after children who eat 3+ meals a day? Sigh.

Anyway, the time is now to do what I feel led to do. If I wasn't supposed to write anything on this blog, doing so wouldn't even occur to me. But it does. (And obviously my writing is rusty, so bear with me as these muscles wake back up.)

By the way, we have completed our move to central California. We left Didi's house in Texas mid-July and arrived at our new home a week later. I might post some pictures if I can get over the fear of plugging my phone into my computer (why does technology have to be so obscure?!).

It's hot here, just like everywhere in August. We've been surviving inside, and Sydney has taken up putting future outfits together for herself:

Hang on, she says they're Halloween costumes. I should offer her services to Pottery Barn Kids.

Happy Thursday, y'all!

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


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


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:


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!