Thursday, August 28, 2008

Kristi's TDY

For those of you unfamiliar with military lingo and acronyms, TDY is the phrase for business trips that Ted takes. I think it means something like Temporary Duty, although I could be very wrong on that. Anyway, when I get to go out of town we joke that I have a TDY. Well, this is my weekend for a TDY while I get together with my 3 best friends from college. We meet about once a year at one person's home, and this year it's in Little Rock. So, within a week of being in Arkansas visiting the family, I'm in Arkansas again. Only this time I got to fly here without children. I enjoyed listening to other mom's manage their children in the airport and on the plane--"Johnny, we should go to the restroom now before we get on the plane, because we'll have much more room here." "Shhhhhhhhh." These are all phrases I didn't have to say. I'm sure it sounds a bit evil, but I was just so glad that it wasn't me. I rather enjoyed reading an entire book on my two flights, and not worrying about stopping at restrooms in the terminal or quieting a fussy baby on the plane. Ahhhhh. It's almost as though Calgon was taking me away. I'm most looking forward to tomorrow morning when no one but my own body clock wakes me up. I'm sure Ted's side of the story would be much more interesting, since he's the one left managing our angels.

Monday, August 25, 2008

My Brownie Is Smoking

Tonight I began making Warm Delight Brownies for the mess of kids we had at our house (our 4 plus their 4 friends). If you haven't been introduced to the fine art of Warm Delights, you're missing out (thank you Armfields!!). It is basically a single serving of a brownie that you can mix up and cook in your microwave. A fast, easy, yummy dessert that our kids love. As I have the 8 little containers spread out on the counter I begin to think that I'm missing the point and that perhaps I should have just made a package of brownies, but that would have required forethought and planning, and besides spontaniety is fun, right? So anyway, I have the 8 bowls on the counter when Cory walks in and instantly knows what I am up to. Being the budding chef that he is, Cory wants to help, so I put him in charge of microwave duty--he has to put the mixture into the microwave, hit 3-0-start, remove the baked brownie and then start all over with the next mixture. Meanwhile, I'm distributing completed desserts and spoons to the other kids who are outside. He's doing an excellent job, and quite proud of himself. I leave him with the last mixture--HIS. He's very excited, of course. I go back out and soon see Cory coming outside crying. This can't be good--did he burn himself? I told him not to eat it immediately out of the microwave because it's too hot and needs to cool down. I try to understand what he is telling me through the tears--no, he's not burned, no he didn't shut his finger in the microwave, what? your brownie is burned? At this point I'm walking in the house with him and the smell hits me--ugh! Luckily, our friend was in the kitchen with him when it began burning and quickly got it out of the house and the stove fan on. This is her version of what happened: Cory says "look! my brownie is smoking;" she turns to see what he's talking about and notices the time on the microwave says 1:35--clearly much more than the 30 seconds he was supposed to cook it for. She opens the microwave and smoke billows out of the box. Poor guy--I had no extra Warm Delights and had already given the other 7 to his siblings and friends. He was crushed. Not crushed enough to refuse an ice cream sandwich, but still not totally accepting that his brownie, even once cooled, would not be edible.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

God Bless The Razorbacks

We are back from the big trip. 10 Days in Arkansas. I was dreading the heat, but it turns out we timed the visit very well. We had pleasant temps most of the time. That was a good thing since our rental van was black - ugh!!

We were able to spend time with all the major relatives...I say major - because you know it is Arkansas and in some way we are related to all our neighbors - right?

I was surprised that many of the family members did not ask me much about the deployment. I'm not sure if they felt uneasy in some way or just were not that interested. I expected a fair amount of quizzing...but it never happened.

One of the funniest parts of the trip for me was a Sunday sermon in a local church. Kristi and I had never been to this church before. We attended because a friend had recently become the Pastor. The funny thing to me was the sermon started with a reference to the University of Arkansas Razorbacks sports team. It triggered some memories for me and I realize that many sermons in Arkansas start with some Hog reference. I also compared it to other places we have been...and they all had some "local flavor" to kick things off as well. In OH it was always about the Buckeyes and then here in Mass the Red Sox and Patriots are a regular lead in as well. So as odd as some may think the Razorback fans are...the same kind of devotion exists in all parts of the country.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Did You Save Any Room For Dessert?

One of the great things about having friends close by is you can ask them to watch your kids. Or even better--you don't even have to ask, they just volunteer. Our best friends did just that, and we were able to spend a night alone in Beantown.

We stayed at the oldest, continuously operating hotel in America--The Omni Parker House, right on the Freedom Trail in downtown Boston. They lay claim to the creation of both the Parker House roll and the Boston Cream Pie. We sampled the pie and found it to be superb!! Although, the best part of this hotel had to be the fact that, since it was on the Freedom Trail, there was a red brick walkway that led us right from our hotel to some of the must see sights, and all we had to do was follow it back.
Bad weather (which seems to be a theme for us) did not deter us from heading on foot to the North End, basically Boston's Little Italy, and we dined at a delightful Italian restaurant with fabulous Tiramisu (if you're keeping score, that's 2 desserts already). It's a good thing we were not competing in the Amazing Race because we would have so lost! We were literally at the restaurant, but ended up crossing the street and going around the block before realizing it was where we had started. I can see how the producers would have had a shot of us saying "Where is it? I don't see it" with the restaurant's name clearly visible ten feet behind us. Classic.
Of course we had to do some shopping. We hit Fanueil Hall and Quincy Market. In celebration of the Olympics and a local hero - we stopped in at Bill Rodgers Running shop. We like to buy discontinued shoes there (to get the discount). We are pretty sure the sales clerk we had was actually Bill Rodgers. He won the Boston Marathon multiple times and is huge part of the local running scene. His store is this tiny little hole-in-the-wall shop. Not what we originally expected, but at the same time strangely refreshing after buying running shoes in the big chain stores.
Thankfully, the next morning was glorious weather, and we walked around the North End some more, geocaching at the Old North Church (made famous by Paul Revere, maybe you've heard of him?--one if by land, two if by sea), strolled along the waterfront with lunch at a local seafood favorite, Legal Seafood, and walked along the Charles River and through Harvard Yard before returning to the North End to hit Mike's Pastry for some cannoli and pastry puffs (yes, that's 3). Mike's is a very popular place here. When we stopped in earlier in the morning they already had a few customers, but by 4 in the afternoon when we returned for a to-go dessert it was standing room only.

We didn't quite make it on Rachael Ray's $40 a day plan--it was much closer to $40 an hour, but we had a great time and enjoyed every last morsel.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Locks of Love

Kristi has been letting her hair grow out very very long. At some point while I was deployed she convinced daughter Riley to grow her hair out as well. They decided to cut their hair and donate it to a charity (more on that in the future). Today was the big day to get K’s hair cut (R wisely cut her hair before camp in June). K scheduled the appointment with her friend Katharine. Kristi had not had a haircut in over a year so not only was this a big deal, but it was her first appointment with this hairdresser so there’s a whole set of issues I can’t even begin to understand.

Let me just say I think her new hair is AWESOME. I knew she was going to cut it and I was just praying she did not come home in tears…”oh it was awful…the stylist was this or that…my hair…blah blah.” Well Praise GOD that did not happen. She loves the new hair. I think it helped that one of the neighbors in the circle said it was “flirty.” I think it totally rocks. I took her out to dinner to celebrate.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Evel Knievel (Girl Edition)

Some have daredevil friends, some have daredevil sons, but we have a daredevil baby girl. She likes to follow the other kids when they ride bikes and scooters. She has a big-wheel tricycle that she can push around. Here's a pic of her trying to ride while eating a Popsicle. She thinks she can do it all.

Just a few days ago she decided to take the trike up the hill we have that leads to our circle. She had her helmet on, but no shoes. She was cooking down the hill pretty fast and tried to slow you might have guessed there was trouble. She lost part one a big toenail in the crash. She was grumpy for the rest of the night, but then was right back on the hill the next day. Here's a video of her riding...this time with shoes.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Kiss the Cook

Today Ted reconnected with his grill in a yummy kind of way. He wrote often while at Bucca about his food, and early on told us about Surf and Turf days at the different installations. One thing he managed to steer clear of was the turf part of those meals--he's very particular about steak, and he recognized that steaks cooked in mass had no chance of being delectable. So, after a commissary run last week during which Ted selected some steaks, we chose tonight to grill--mostly because J. C. Monahan told us this morning that we'd have a beautiful day with no rain, which hasn't been the case lately with afternoon thunderstorms everyday. But I digress. So, he was going to grill. Lucky me--he grilled steaks, nectarines, and squash (from our squash plant transplanted to a neighbor's garden because my Victory Garden was too small for pumpkins, squash, zucchini AND cucumber--what was I thinking? Sometime in the near future I'll have to post a picture of my hybrid cucumbers). ahhhhhhh--I love grilled nectarines. Oh, and he had a foil pouch with buttered mushrooms on the grill, too. Dinner was delightful. Now, for some reason, in spite of all the amazing food on our table, the younger set was not impressed. We reminded them that they ate at mecca for lunch (a.k.a. Mickey D's, the Golden Arches, the Farm or just plain McDonalds), and we would not be receiving complaints at supper, thank you very much.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Names are important

Now that I am back and I have continued to update the Blog, I think it is important to change the name. I've been considering the change for some time. Kristi is a big part of this story and she needs to be recognized in the title as well. Otherwise you just think it is all me. I'm not sure what the final name will be, but for now I'll take a stab at it. I'll keep the AFTED web address becuase that is fun. But the new name...the jury is still out so send in any comments or suggestions.

Today was a big day getting back into the swing of normal things. K went out for lunch with a friend. I had all the kids for a couple of hours. Oh my - I have no idea how she did it for 6 months. She (my wife) is so much more of an angel than I can even describe. I should go buy her flowers tomorrow. Part two of the day - She also has a scrapbooking event at the church tonight. I stayed home and paid bills.