Wednesday, January 12, 2011

And the Official, Official Word Is...

Katie posted that it's official...she's off to Afghan. Now, this is good and bad news. Good, because as most of you know she's been having some health issues and now they are resolved and she is deemed healthy, and bad because she's going to a war torn and dangerous place.

I'm not quite sure how to feel about this, yet. I find myself angry, worried, happy (because she's healthy) and very, very, scared. I know she'll be alright. I know that. Still that mothering instinct is to run after her and steal away her M14 to protect her. Funny thing is, she'd be the one who could protect me now. There's a flip for ya.

Doesn't make it any easier...

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Touch of the Army Greens

WOW! It's been a hard, taxing and long morning/day. It started out with the "hurry-ups" and the "we're going to be lates." It ended with a goodbye and a lot of tears.

I can't describe the feeling of sending your child into one of the most dangerous places on earth. I can't begin to help anyone who hasn't had this experience to understand it. It's not possible. All I can tell you is it's scary, sad, and well, to be honest, a bit exciting!

Truly, I am excited for Katie. She will see a part of the world I never will. She will meet people, experience things and do things I never will. That old Army motto of "Be All That You Can Be" is bouncing around in my head as I think of all the great things that are in store for my little girl--the little girl who is a married woman and not so little anymore. I am thinking of the old commercials about adventure and seeing places. It's true and she will have spectacular stories to share. I can't wait to hear them.

And though she's gone and my heart hurts from missing her and from the natural worry of motherhood, I know, inexplicably, that she will be fine. I know that this "adventure" is going to make her into an incredibly stronger and more courageous woman. I am proud of my daughter, my son and my son-in-law. All three of them are incredible Soldiers who amaze me. I am grateful for them.

Can a heart be more full? Probably, but mine is bursting with pride from these three young people. And in a year, it will be a sweet reunion for all of us. In a short year, we will all have each other again.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Full House is Better Than a Pair...

Ah! The joys of having 10 people sequestered in a lowly 5 bedroom, 2 bath home. Two of which are newlyweds who've only had a few weeks of married life together in their short 6 months of wedded bliss--no thanks to the U.S. Army. But, hey! They're good Soldiers and that's all that counts!

In such close quarters it's hard to turn around without bumping into someone or something. For the most part, we wedge our way into each other's space pretty well and without much mishap or vice. There are the occasional spats and fusses but the kids are getting along very well. Me? I just hide away and pretend the house is semi-empty again. That is, until it's dinner time, homework help time or any other numerous "times" that I am met with...constantly.

With the up coming holidays and a huge (fake) Christmas tree about to occupy even more of the limited space, I am drawn to the idea of renting a hall for all of us to sleep in while Christmas takes over. I can see us now, cozily laying in cots with mummy-bags surrounding our bodies to keep out the winter chill while a nice fire roasts in the make-believe the kitchen there is the wonderful smell of hot chocolate and candies. It's a nice idea--not a real one, but a nice one.

Wasn't it on Star Trek that they coined the phrase, "Space; the final frontier?" I know it was...I'm thinking it's about time to build a spacecraft and jump aboard. The only problem would be an even bigger lack of area! Those shuttles aren't any larger than our little home.
All-in-all, it's not so bad. I'm grateful to have everyone home and safe. I'm glad to have our family together because truth be told, it was lonely. I was lonely. And even thought it's tight and close, there's really no other way I would choose to have it.

So now I suppose I'll go stake a claim in my bedroom and sprawl myself out on my side of the king-sized bed before it's overtaken by the other half. Maybe I'll find some Sugar Plum Fairies dancing tonight and I'll smell those odors of cocoa and candies. Maybe.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I'm a Doin' a Jig....


Oh! When the Soldiers come marching home! OH! When the Soldiers come marching home! I'm gonna be there in that number! When my Soldiers come marching home!!

Yes! It's true!! In just a few more days there will be boys returning home to see family. US as a matter-of-fact! Both the boys are heading toward graduation from AIT and on their way to us. Can I get a happy dance?

There's only one thing that would hold Jeff back from coming home and that's the fact that they are planning on a lot of dental work. I guess he's a category 3 and needs some serious attention to his teeth. Snaggle-boy he will be no more! If that's the case, he'll be a few more weeks but he's still on that pathway home.

JT on the other-hand, is heading this way. He's catching that big ol' air-o-plane and flying it home. Katie is beside herself with excitement and rightfully so! It's been a long, hard 6 months for the two of them and it's only going to get harder when she deploys in the next little while.

Life seems to move in fast motion more and more. This deployment is coming quicker than anticipated and I'm finding it harder and harder to feel secure in letting my little girl go but it's what she does and I'm proud of her for it. She'll be back before I know it too and I'll have all my children safe and sound again. That's the day I'm holding my breath for.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sing! Sing a Song....

Last night, and the night before, I was able to attend the girls'--Natalee and Maggie--choir concerts.
I've tried to put up videos so you can all enjoy it but for some reason, it won't load. I'll keep trying. In the interim, here are pictures. :)

Natalee's was fun. A bunch of middle schoolers singing their little hearts out is always a good time. And they did pretty darn good!

But Maggie's? was AMAZING!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Yum! Who wants a Cake Pop?

We made the cake-pops and can I just tell you, they are DELICIOUS! :) And loads of fun to make!
YUM! Who wants to lick the spoon?

Here's the "batter" and a few of the almost pops.
We got busy making quite a few of them. I recommend reading the directions fully before you dive in. I accidentally put too much frosting in the first batch and we had to quickly make another cake to even things out.

We discovered that being prepared really helps when you're making these.

Once the balls were formed, we stuck them in the freezer (like Bakerella recommends) and waited. And waited. And waited. It was a good thing we did! If they're not frozen, they don't like the melted chocolate and fall off the sticks. But soon we were ready to dive in to the "frosting" part of it.

We found it was really important to keep your chocolate melted.
And though ours were definitely not as pretty as Bakerella's, they were a lot of fun to make and they tasted wonderful!

Using coffee stirrers doesn't work very well. You really need the lolly-pop sticks.

Blah! I vant to eat your cake pop!

This was our "Old Man" cake pop.


Maggie's "artistic" picture of the table and stuff on it...

They're so much fun, in fact, that I'm making more on Friday to take with us on Saturday for our church activity. I think they'll be a hit! Thanks Bakerella!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Swwweettt bloggers! I found a good one!

Once, a long time ago, I enjoyed being creative, baking and doing all those "girly" things. After having all the children and being busy as a mom, I sort of lost my love for all of it. Every once in a while though, I get a hankering for some baking and when I find a person who is beyond creative I like to follow them--just to see what new things they'll come up with next. It just so happens I did find someone new. And I'm in LOVE!

My new favorite blogspot!

I grabbed the fall edition of Betty Crocker at our local grocery store last night because the cover was so enticing. Isn't it always that way? And inside I found recipe after recipe after sweet recipe that I'm dying to try. There are more things in this little compact magazine to try than I think I have time for in a day. Good thing there are more days of Fall for me to use than one!

Here's a copy of the magazine cover.

So, I'm going to do my reading for class and then, yes, I'm going to attempt to have some fun in my kitchen with some of these wonderful recipes I've found. I'll put some pictures up when I've finished. They won't look as good as those professional ones Betty Crocker has in her magazine, but hey, it's all good--especially the food! :)

Home again...

But for how long? You may ask. I can honestly tell you I'm here for a while.

The trip was FANTASTIC! We saw so many wonderful things, experienced history and learned so much. We visited places I never thought we'd get a chance to see. Ahhh. Vacations. :)

Of course, the best part of the trip was seeing our son, Jeff, graduate from Basic Training. Now I know I'm a little late on this particular post, especially because he returns home from AIT some time next month, but it's still important to write about, right? Right...

Holding the Company Flag

We flew into Jacksonville, FL and were accompanied by two of the best people anyone could ever ask for as traveling companions, my in-laws. Truly, they were a lot of fun to be with and we enjoyed the 15 days we had with them to tour and discover. They weren't sure they'd be able to make it at first but in the end they were there and 100%. It was great.

Lee and Ruth

After the long flight, we jumped in the rental car and took off for Savannah, GA. Now, anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE Savannah. Those who live there might call it the "Black Hole of the south," but I adore visiting and seeing all the sights. There's never a shortage of things to explore or beauty to behold. From the Spanish Moss to the canopy of trees that shroud the streets, Savannah holds a mystery and an air of discovery to her.
Savannah, GA
From the many squares that litter down-town to the quaint River-Front shops, Savannah entices. She entices you to walk back in time, slow down and become genteel, refined and well-mannered. I must admit to having a love affair here, in Savannah, an affair with history and Southern Hospitality. They are good mistresses.

South Carolina has its own choice places to see and visit but we never seem to get further than Ft. Jackson for some reason. One day, we'll go explore her shores and cities and see what bounty she has to offer. But for now, we are sufficed with the amazing soldiers she produces and that is good enough for me.

Virginia, now there's a place to set some visiting roots! From plantations that still function to cities that glow in the night, Virginia has it all. It's that southern pace that really causes a person to be drawn to these states. It's slow, easy and comfortable. And like Savannah, Virginia holds secrets from the past. I love to visit anywhere in Virginia. I'm never disappointed.
Jamestown, VA looking out to the Atlantic Ocean

Seeing Washington, D.C. was better this time than the first. We had the opportunity to tour the Capital Building, see the actual Senate House and take our son, and soldier, to Arlington National Cemetery where he had the chance to participate--although not directly--in the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns. Because he was in uniform, he was able to solute those men who gave their lives willingly for our freedoms. It was surreal to see my son solute them and know that some other mother, some where, didn't know the whereabouts of her son, a soldier. I was proud in that moment, proud and humbled.
The Tomb of the Unknowns
We met up with my sister-in-law in DC and had a great time touring around. She took her parents back with her to Delaware and Jeff and I took our son on to his AIT. We had a wonderful time with him and were sad to say goodbye after such a short time with him but we know he's doing what he's always wanted to do and he's happy. That's all that matters.

Jeff and I took a few days to tour around Virginia after that and went to places like Jamestown, Williamsburg and a few other spots. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves but were happy to head up to Beck and David's to see them and the boys and spend some touring time with them in Delaware and Pennsylvania.

Amish Country was a lot of great shopping! I highly recommend going there with an abundance of money! Just remember to either ship home or pack into a different bag any items that are liquid and check them in! I promise, you'll be glad you did when you get to security at the airport. : /

A great little band!
We ended up at the Liberty Bell, Constitution Hall and many other exciting places while we were there. We had the best sandwiches ever at Reading Station and I did some more shopping. It was a great day, couple of days, in Philly!

This is THE place for Philly Cheese-steak Sandwiches!

But if you want a great Italian sub...look no further!

Beck and Jeff

You always have room for ice cream!

There's never enough time, is there? It always seems to be cut short and it's time to head home again. But we didn't pack our bags up quite yet. We went to Valley Forge and spent the day walking where George Washington and his troops wintered and lived. We visited the most amazing church while there and grew to appreciate those men who gave their all for our country. It was stirring and humbling to walk those grounds.
The monument to the Revolutionary soldiers at Valley Forge
I am glad we went and I'm even more glad to be home to share these experiences with all of you. I hope you enjoy the few photos and the little bit of story. If you want to know everything we did, well that, you'll have to ask me in person. :)