Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Monday, December 29, 2008

Setting: End of Christmas Day brushing three year old teeth

Me: Mark, are you tired?

Mark: Yes. Why am I so *YAWN* tired?

Me: Because we had a very big day.

Mark: Tomorrow, can we have a little day?

Me: Certainly dear.

So we did.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Back To the Real World

Well have a rather long hiatus, I am back. The last of my company went home yesterday.
We had a wonderful time with everyone.
I won't bore you with a ton of Christmas but I just want to share a few of our Christmas morning. We decided to let Christmas be about the kids this year. The adults didn't get a lot. We mostly gave to the kids. It's more fun that way. Plus after they go to bed we get to play with their toys. Wooohooo!!!
Mark was full of nervous anticipation before we started. He knew something good was coming but wasn't sure just what.
Poor Anna. She had been told all week not to touch the presents. Then we started plunking gift down in front of her. And encouraging her to do the very thing we told her not to do for three days. She was a teeny bit confused. She got over it pretty quick though when she realized all the good stuff in those packages.
I think these are her first real girl toys. She has been playing with "boy" things since she was born.
Mark and Grandma Shirley talked about a garbage truck not long ago. Who knew she would get one for our very own home. It even comes with it's own ball of garbage. Thanks GM.S. As if I don't have enough of that hanging around. (kidding, Mark loves it.)

In short we had a wonderful Christmas.

My mom (Dlyn) gave me the best gift of all. She took all of these pictures so that I could enjoy the present opening with the kids. Thanks Mom!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Did You Know...

snow is slippery. Sean was appalled that we haven't taken the kids sledding yet this year. I have no excuse except that we have been busy. And we knew it was going to be around until May so we have lots of time. Sean would take none of these for an answer and insisted we take the kids sledding while he was here so they would have the experience. Really Sean wanted to go himself. He is a transplanted northerner and doesn't get much snow in GA. So we went.
We had a stinking blast. When I was a kid I remember sledding being a lot of work for a short thrill ride. Now that I have long legs it is more fun than work.
Unfortunately Anna doesn't like sledding much. As soon as we put her on the sled she wanted off.
Maybe next year.Just for the record we also tried sitting with her. She didn't like that any better. Apparently it is scary to go careening down a hill out of control. Who Knew.
She still managed to have some fun. Snow is yummy.
Mark on the other hand had a blast. He loved it.
We did end up in with snow in the mittens and on the face but it was still really fun.
I came to realize something though. Mark is not ready for the world. He is so trusting. He would never suspect that someone would do something mean to him.

Like throw a snowball at him. Bad Sean. Just mean.

What do you have to say for yourself??
We had a great time out there and all week. It was great to see Sean and Jason's Dad. I feel bad I haven't mentioned him before but he was here all week too. We had a wonderful time with him. (I had a post for him all written in my head but it just didn't come together.)

On Friday, we returned them to the airport for their rides home. Unfortunately planes have some trouble taking off in blizzards (I took some pictures out of the van window but all you can see is white. It was NOT a fun ride. 2 1/2 hours to get to Syracuse. It should have taken about an hour and 20 minutes.) so they ended up spending the weekend with us and leaving yesterday. They are both back home safe and sound.
Today starts another whirl wind adventure. My parents are coming to spend Christmas with us.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

We Are Famous

We got caught on camera abusing our Christmas tree.

And they put it in the paper.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Decorating To Me

Most of my decorations are gifts that have been given to me over the years. So decorating is personal.
I have a few things that are particularly important to me because of the people who gave them to me.
This little nativity was given to me by a friend's mom about ten years ago. I have had other nativities but this one is special. I love the simple little pieces. It makes think happy thoughts every time I see it.
This village is definitely my favorite decoration. It is always in the first box opened and the last box put away. Jason got this for me for our first Christmas together. He bought it at a second hand store in North Carolina. I love the warm glow it gives the space. I have tried and tried to find more pieces but have never been able to.
The tree in the village was given to me by my mom my first Christmas away from home. She couldn't stand the thought of me not having a tree. I put it in my village because it just fits there. It is like my own little Rockefeller Center.
I have a few ornaments that are really important to me. This bell was giving to me by my Great Grandmother. She and Grandpa bought them when they were first married many many year ago. I haven't gotten it out the last couple of years. I was so afraid it would get broken. But this year I decided to bring it back out. If I waited for it to be safe to bring it out, I would never have it out again. I just threatened all in the house with certain death if they so much as look at it too hard.
My aunt and uncle always got my sister and me an ornament every year when we were kids. They were almost always these little brass ones with our names engraved on them. It was always a treat to see what they would send. One thing about them though is they hide in the branches. You have to take a flash light and poke around in the tree when you de-decorate or you are sure to miss one. My Dad once found one laying out in the yard in July.You have no idea how hard it was to not be in the reflection in this picture. It's embarrassing really.
My parents have decided to perpetuate the giving of ornaments. Every year they give the kids their own ornaments. I have almost as much fun as they do opening that gift.

So there you have it. A short tour of what Christmas decorating is to me.
What is your favorite decoration? I would love to hear about it.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Visit

This is my friend Sean. I met Sean many moons ago on my first assignment in the Air Force. He and I have been great friends ever since. He is like a girlfriend but with boy parts. I think. I don't actually know about these things. Strictly a platonic relationship. Any who, Sean texted me on Thanksgiving Day and asked where the nearest airport is. There is only one reason he would ask me that. Yep, that's right folks. My dear friend Sean is coming here to my house in 3 short days. I owe Sean not one, not two but three visits. And he is still going to come and see me. Oh, happy day.
Sean and I have many memories together. We shared a house rental in Florida for a couple of years. While we lived there he bought this car.

We spent many a happy hour in the garage working on it together. By working I mean him working and me offering smart ass but well timed remarks. I am good like that.
Sometimes we would drive around in his car. That was always fun. That was back before gas cost your life savings. Which was a good thing. I think this Mustang gets about 3 gallons to the mile or something like that. I didn't have to put gas in it. I was the passenger, mostly.
I have many more stories about this guy.
He once drove with me to Alabama to see my great grandmother. She was scandalized that I had a male friend. It was rather an uncomfortable weekend. But I was so glad to have him there.

He wrecked my truck once. We were out on the base ranges in North Carolina squealing the tires and having fun. He zigged when he should have zagged. We went off of an embankment and got thoroughly stuck. Thank goodness for some very friendly rednecks who came and helped us out. We would probably still be out there.

He was in our wedding. My parent's dog didn't like him. That was pretty funny.

When I was in the Air Force far from home. His family welcomed me every year to spend Christmas with them. It was like have four brothers and a mom (Hi Mom). They were wonderful. I was and am so thankful for his family. Christmas would have been a far lonelier time for me if not for them.

In short Sean is a very special friend of mine. He is coming here next week. And I can't wait.

Go enter dlynz contest today. The world's smartest dog is giving some thing away.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Tree

Every year since we had our kids we have gone and cut our own tree. Unfortunately this year it wasn't meant to be. We just didn't have time to get out there and do it. So we went to a tree farm and got a pre-cut instead. Why do I tell you that little story? Because I know the fam is wondering why there are no pictures of the cutting
So we start this little story in the middle.
With the tree.
I know. It's a little funny looking, isn't it. All the other trees were snickering when we picking this one. They were poking each other in the ribs and pointing. It was a little embarrassing.
Any way we came home and decorated. The kids really needed a nap yesterday. So Jason and I made merry while they slept away the afternoon.
Then we had the big reveal. Anna especially loved it.

She pointed and looked at each ornament very carefully.

Mark was far more interested in the candy cane given to him at the farm. So he didn't get in on a lot of the first pictures. Don't worry, I will take plenty more. My camera is never far away.
Tux gets a mention today though. Every morning during Christmas I get to wake up to the sound of a cat getting sick. He loves needles but they don't agree with him. Stupid cat.
He may get to spend Christmas in the basement. (I know you wanted to hear about that.)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Reading Time.

Mark loves to read. He always has. When he was a baby I used to hold him on my lap and read to him for hours. I read things he was far to young to understand. But he liked to look at the picture and listen to my voice.
Then Anna came along. She has never really liked to read. It requires one to sit semi still. She has never sat still for one second in her entire life. We are finally getting her to sit for very short books like Go Dogs Go. She gets so excited when we get to the part about climbing the tree. She loves her big brother though. She will do anything to please him.
If you put these two together, what do you get? A little boy who has ALL of his books memorized and a little girl who absolutely stinking adores her brother and will do anything he wants. She will sit through enter books while he "reads" to her.

He says, Anna, come here and let me read to you. And over she trots and sits down.
Sometime she sits with her hands in her lap and lets him read.

Sometimes she helps turn pages.

Always they have a blast together.

It's moments like these that make me love being their Mom.
BTW, the book they are reading in these pictures is called The Wonderful Thing About Hiccups by Cece Meng. It's a great little book for the toddler age. We read in daily. Thanks Grandma Shirley.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Last Day

Today is the final day of my food drive. As most of you know I have been donating a nickel for each and every visit to my site for the last month. Thanks to all who came by a helped me. We raised $39.20. I will be mailing the check out Monday.
Now I have a challenge for my readers (all three of you). Do something this year for someone less fortunate.

Donate to a local food bank. (I am trying to find a national registry of food banks. If anyone knows of one please leave a link in the comments.) There is a lot of need right here in our own country.

Give to a worthy organization like Toys For Tots. This is a yearly drive done by the Marines. They give toys to under privileged kids.

Another great one is Operation Christmas Child. They send Christmas boxes to kids around the world. And spread the real meaning of Christmas to kids who really need it.

The Salvation Army bell ringers are out in force this year. Drop a little something in the red bucket and wish them Merry Christmas.

If none of these perk you fancy consider matching my donation to Food For The Poor.

All of these worthy charities are very near and dear to my heart. Maybe you have a charity of your own in mind. Go ahead and leave a link in the comments. I would love to hear about it. Just do something!

In other news go over and enter Dlynz contest. She is giving away only the best Christmas movie of all time.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Snowy Good Time

Yesterday Mark's preschool class went and picked out their Christmas tree. It was my first experience going into the woods with 22 three year old people. I thought is was a Tree farm. It wasn't. It is a farmer's forest. He lets the class go and pick out a tree off of his land every year. We walked and walked and walked and walked. Ducking under branches and stepping over small rivers the whole way. All with 22 preschoolers and Anna. I carried her. I didn't take any pictures of all of that. I was too busy not falling on my bottom. Mark fell down approximately 13,954 times.
Then we came to a stopping point. One of the Dads was waiting for us with hot cocoa and cookies. All of the kids had this little ring on their faces when they were done.

This little munchkin likes hot cocoa.

Then they cut a cute little Charlie Brown tree and put a rope on it.
And the kids hauled it out of the woods.
All the way to the road.

It was a lot of work.

We had a blast. Mark has been talking about it pretty much since we came home yesterday. Today, they decorate.
Have I mentioned lately that I stinking love this preschool? Because I really do.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Please Help Me

I am told if I don't plug Dlynz contest today, I will be forever removed from her Christmas list. So please, for all that is good and holy, go over there and enter. Tell her I sent you. The woman makes fabulous baked things. And I really really really want to be on her good list. While you are right there check out her chocolate pudding cake. I have been eating pretty much my entire life. It is one of the things that makes life worth living. Very easy to put together too.

And just because I think it is stinking halarious here is a picture of Mark.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Most Frightening Thing In All the Land

We torture our kids for fun. We figure it toughens them up for the real world. No one out there is not going to coddle them and wipe their tears. I figure we are doing them a service.
We live in the land of snow and ice and SALT. We have to keep our vehicles fairly clean or risk them rusting out from under us. We go through the car wash about once a month in the winter. Every time we go, Mark assures me he will be fine.

"I like the car wash, Mama." he says

"Really" I say "You won't cry this time. You will be OK?"

"Yep" is the answer I get.

But inevitably he cries just as soon as the doors close. The point of no return. Hands and arms and little boys inside the car at all times so to speak.
I usually hold him on my lap. This helps some.

Anna used to like the car wash. But she saw her brother's reaction one too many times. When we went through the other day, there were tears. We were almost done though so she stayed in her seat.

Yep, children torturers. That's us. We like it that way.

We are almost there on my food drive. Thank you so much for telling people. It really means a lot to me.

The first picture is courtesy of Google Images. The other two were taken with my phone. I love that thing but it doesn't take the best pictures. Better than no pictures at all though.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Our Thanksgiving Adventure

Our morning started with about eighteen inches of snow. I woke at six to my neighbor across the street snow blowing his driveway. Yep 6 AM snow blowing. He really knows how to have a good time.
So I got up. He has a long driveway and there was no way to sleep through that. I had coffee instead and read all of your blogs. Go me!!
Then I went out and cleared a spot for Jason to pull the truck in when he got home. Yep. I am a good wife. I hope he doesn't get used to that. It probably won't happen again.
So Jason came home and attacked the snow with a shovel and a vengeance. It was a vicious fight but he won.
And then and then and then the power went out. On Thanksgiving Day when everyone in all the whole world has to use the oven, the power goes out. Lucky for me I didn't have a turkey in the oven. We were very fortunate to be invited to a friend's house. We will get to that adventure in a minute. But first, lets go back to my powerless kitchen. I had big plans for Thanksgiving morning. I wasn't in charge of the bird. So I thought I would whip up a few delicious appetizers and mouth watering desserts. Nothing like the loss of power to bring one back to earth. Instead I made things that could sit and wait to go in the oven at our friends house. Stuffed mushrooms anyone?
Do you remember that part back at the beginning where I said 'we got eighteen inches of snow'? Well that was just the start. It kept snow all day. We had quite a slippery little adventure getting to their house. Our 25 minute trip took about an hour.
It was so worth it though. They were the most gracious hosts. The food was fabulous. They barbecue the turkey. It was out of this world. It had a little smokey hickory flavor and so juicy. It was hands down the best turkey I have ever had. (Sorry Mom.) In fact, I think I will be trying this very soon myself. We had wonderful company and great food. What could be better than that.
We had a rather hair raising ride back home but my little mini van is a champ. And we made it home safe and sound. We came in and put two very tired kids to bed. When I went to check on them later, neither of them had moved a muscle. It was a long day but a very good one.

Hope you Thanksgiving was a little less exciting but just as fun and tasty.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Hello Bloggy Internets..you are still there aren't you.

It seems the blog has gone rather ignored the last few days. Wait until you hear the tale. Thanksgiving was an adventure this year. Tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

11 Years Ago Today

11 years ago today I took an oath that forever altered the course of my life. No other 15 seconds in my lifetime had a bigger impact on the direction my life took. I raised my right hand and said:
As I stood there and said the words so many before me had said my heart pounded like never before. I was so afraid of what lie ahead. But I knew I was supposed to be there at that time and in that place. I knew what I was doing was important. It wasn't going to be easy but the best things often aren't. I thought of my parents standing at the back of the room. I could feel their pride all the way up where I was. I knew they were a little scared too. They stood there and watched as I became an adult.
Three days later I called them on Thanksgiving Day a blubbered like a baby. I think I ruined Thanksgiving that year. Sorry guys.
Since that day I have had an opportunity to travel to places and do things I never would have imagined before. The units I have been associated with have done good things all over the globe. I got the opportunity to play a small part in those things. For that I am so thankful.
While I no longer have a direct affiliation I still feel a small swell of pride when I hear of the great things that our military is doing. I think I will always miss my Air Force days. It was a way of life. Everywhere you went, you had a built in support system. I will always miss the comradely of being a part of something bigger than myself.
No, I didn't they didn't let me fly these. I did get to sit in one though. That was pretty cool.

I took care of survival equipment. Pretty much all the gear you saw in Top Gun was stuff I worked on. But they did it all wrong in Hollywood. Ask me sometime. I will tell you about it. Just to clarify, I didn't work on the gear on the set of Top Gun. I was eight when that movie came out. And I still would have done a better job than Hollywood did. You weren't confused, were you?
Oh how I kick myself now for making all of my big pictures little back when I had a smaller hard drive. It makes for some pretty grainy memories.

Monday, November 24, 2008


The inspiration for this post came from Memarie Lane. She posted some pictures of her beautiful baby the other day. One of the pictures was of her little girl's hand. That was all I needed.

I have always been fascinated with hands. Each one unique to it's owner. East set has a story to tell in the lines and scars.
When I was a child I fell off my bike and filleted my hand open. I walked my bike back home crying all the way. I still have scar today from that accident. I would probably not even remember this incident if not for the divot I still sport on my right hand from it.
When my babies were small I used to play with their hands for hours. They were so innocent and perfect. Not a single flaw or line. No blemishes marked them. They had those tiny dimples on the back of their knuckles. I kissed those tiny hands daily.

By contrast I think of my great grandmother's hands. She was an immigrant and a farmer's wife. To say she worked hard would be an understatement. She raised children and milked cows with those hands. By the time I came along her hands were very old. They were gnarled and tired. For most of my childhood she still lived the life of a farmer's wife. One of my most vivid memories of her was when I went over to visit her and Grandad. They had a dog almost as old as them. Shadow liked nothing more than to sit as his mistresses feet and be petted. I imagine it probably hurt her arthritic hands to pet him but she did it anyway. I remember watching her hands glide over that dog's head. She looked so frail. Her hands looked so old to me. Her stories were told in the lines on her hands. (I hope to revisit this amazing woman in a future post.)
Now I look down at my own hands. My hands are strong. I have changed a thousand diapers and wiped a million tears with these hands. I have served my country. I have lived, loved and learned with these hands. They are serving me well. Someday I hope they look like my grandmothers hands. It will mean I have spent my life doing productive things with them.
I have confidence this little boy will do wonderful things with these hands. I have visions of him soothing his own babies with them; much like his dad comforts him.

And this one. She will be mischievous and get into lots of trouble with her little patties. But I know she will also do great things with them too.

Thanks Memarie for the inspiration.

On More thing. For today and today only I will up the ante. For each and every visit I get in the next 24 hours I will give 50 cents to Food For The Poor. Further details in the side bar. Go tell someone to stop by.