Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Treat

Ahhhhhhh...I'm exhausted, Ted's exhausted and the kids just want to get spun up on more candy. Isn't Halloween grand?

We walked around the base this Halloween dressed as characters from Peter Pan.

Ted was Smee (once again, he had to don a pillow under his shirt)

Kristi was Peter Pan

Riley was Wendy

Mary Beth was Tinkerbell
Cory was Captain Hook
Lucy was Nana (by far the cutest!)

The fun started in our immediate circle with about 20 kids parading around in their costumes in anticipation of the 6:00 start time mandated by the base. Cruella DeVil was there with a dalamation, Darth Vader, a ninja, a punk rock star, a knight, a dinosaur, a road with matchbox cars, a zebra, a two were alike and they were all very cute. Acutally, I should amend that--Cory was not 'cute.' He was, after all, Captain Hook. When Riley told me earlier that he was 'adorable' he was very quick to inform us that he was NOT adorable. We won't tell him, but he was.

After the parade we waited for our friends from another part of the base to join us, and then we headed out. Trick or Treating on a military base is a magical experience for kids...there are a ton of houses in close proximity, a ton of kids, and a relatively safe environment.

One of the chaplains had the grill out in front of his house, and he and his wife were serving hot dogs and hot chocolate. Riley scored a full sized Snickers bar--I promptly confiscated that little piece of heaven. Lucy screamed bloody murder when I took her candy away for the evening--when you have 3 older siblings you learn about things so much earlier than the 1st and 2nd children do. Besides she's so darn cute (and we're so darn beat) that we hardly ever say no to her, therefore when we do, it's usually not received too well.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Rule of Three

I've come to realize the universe has rules and laws. Here's how the rule of three is keeping me down. As most of you know I am an avid Football fan. I track three major "teams" to support my habit. First and foremost - the Tennessee Titans, followed by the Arkansas Razorbacks, and the third is my Fantasy Football team. After years and years of study I can honestly say that I am only allowed to have on of those three teams performing well at any given time. It's like the game from "Who's Line Is It Anyway?" where one guy stands, one leans, and one sits. My three teams all have to be in varying degrees of success.

Currently my NFL Titans are on top. The best in the NFL at this point. My Hogs and Fantasy teams are both in the toilet. I've come to embrace the rule of three and root for my Titans and just be Ok with the other two stinking it up. Look for the three's in your life.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Geometric Baby

Baby Lu likes symmetric foot love. Kristi and I often dote on her and her cute little toes...and when we love on one - she makes sure we spend equal time loving the other side. It's fun. Here's a pic to show how the other foot quickly gets put in the air and needs love.

A small window into our life tonight.
Riley doing her chores (she now only gets paid if she does certain chores - no more free rides)
Mary Beth was pretending to be a Librarian and reading stories to the family. Frustrated that she was not getting enough attention from the other kids.
Cory - shirtless - zooming around the house like "Dash" the action hero from "The Incredibles"
Lucy playing Peek-a-boo

It's never boring.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Rim to River

This past weekend I was able to spend a night away at a Ladies' Retreat with the Protestant Women of the Chapel. We drove north a couple of hours to White River Junction, Vermont. While we were there we spent a little time shopping, a little time hiking, a little time leaf peeping and a little time fellowshipping (is that even a word?). I showed restraint and purchased nothing!

Only a few days earlier I asked Ted to recount his Rim to River hiking story...for those of you who don't know, he spent his last spring break on a trip with his best friend, Jeffy. Among other things, they hiked the Grand Canyon Rim to River in one day--in spite of the multiple signs warning people NOT to unless they were amply prepared. If you call having combat boots, a canteen of water and a granola bar prepared, then they were all set. Needless to stay, it's a very funny story--especially if you get the two of them together to tell it. Little did I know when I asked him about his tale, that in only a few short days I would be visiting what is billed as Vermont's Grand Canyon, and would be able to hike the Quechee Gorge rim to river trail myself--without combat boots, a water bottle or a granola bar! Below is a picture from the river. Earlier, we stood on the bridge to look below on either side. The link has a nice picture of the waterfall at the beginning of the trail.

The trip was fantastic, and the area was beautiful--even though it was past fall foliage peak. It was so nice, in fact, that Ted and I booked a hotel room in the area for next June to take the family for a weekend excursion.

Friday, October 24, 2008

What is a Military Wife?

The following is one of those floating emails, sent to me by Ted's cousin's wife--also a military wife. (I'm not sure who wrote it to give proper credit) I've seen various poems of what a Military Wife is, we're a different breed, I guess. ;)

For all our military (past and present) friends, you'll know this is spot on. For all our civilian friends, here's a little insight into us. Honestly, we wouldn't have it any other way.

What is a MILITARY Wife?

They may look different and each is wonderfully unique.
But what do they have in common? They have THIS IN COMMON!
Lots of moving---
Moving far from home.
Moving two cars, three kids and one dog----all riding with HER of course.
Moving sofas to basements because they won't go in THIS house.
Moving curtains that won't fit.
Moving jobs and certifications and professional development hours.
Moving away from friends, moving toward new friends.
Moving her most important luggage; her trunkful of memories.

Often waiting-
Waiting, waiting;
waiting for housing;
waiting for orders;
waiting for deployment;
waiting for reunion;
waiting for phones calls;
waiting for the new curtains to arrive;
waiting for him to come home for dinner----AGAIN!

They call her 'military dependant', but she knows better.
She can balance a checkbook,
Handle the yard work,
Fix a noisy toilet,
Bury the family pet...
She is intimately familiar with drywall, anchors, and toggle bolts.
She can file the taxes, sell a house, buy a car, or set up a move ----
all with ONE Power of Attorney.
She welcomes neighbors that don't welcome her.
Reinvents her career with every PCS;
locates a house in the desert,
the arctic,
or the deep south
and learns to call them all 'home.'
She MAKES them all home.

She is fiercely IN-dependent and somewhat hasty;
Leaps into
career alternatives,
and friendships. She doesn't have 15 years to get to know people.
Her roots are short but flexible.
She plant annuals for themselves and perennials for those who come after.

Military Wives quickly learn to value each other.
They connect over coffee, rely on the spouse-network
and accept offers
of friendship and favors
and record addresses in pencil.

Military Wives have a common bond.
The Military Wife has a husband unlike other husbands, his commitment is unique.
He doesn't have a job, he has a 'mission' -- he can't decide to quit
he's on-call for his country 24/7,
but for the military wife, he's the most unreliable guy in town!
His language is foreign:
And so, a Military Wife is a translator for her family and his.
She is the long-distance link to keep them informed
the glue that holds them together.

A Military Wife has her moments
She wants to wring his neck,
dye his uniform pink,
and refuse to move to Siberia.
But she pulls herself together.
Give her a few days, a travel brochure, a long hot bath,
a pledge to the flag, and a wedding picture.
And she goes.
She packs.
She moves.
She follows.

What for?
How come?

You may think it is because she has lost her mind.
But actually it is be cause she has lost her heart.
It was stolen from her by an amazing man
Who must put duty first
Who salutes the flag
And whose boots in the doorway remind her that as long as he is her Military husband
She will remain his Military wife.

And proud of it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


from Cory: "Mom, do you want to hear me spit "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star?"
Conversation with Mary Beth:

Me: (I was coming up with ridiculous things that a company's acronym might mean) Maybe SAP stands for Smart And Pretty

Mary Beth: Nope. That's me.
from Lucy: (while motioning with her fingers for us to follow) "mere. mere." She then bugs us incessantly until we follow her to the playroom where her puzzles are. This happens REPEATEDLY during the day!from Riley: hmmmmm... well, we don't really have any good quotes from Riley of late. but, here's a cute picture!

Okay, well, that's all I've got--sorry, it's not that great, but it's something for all you guys who check it more than once a week! Soccer is almost over, and Cory wants his sisters and me to come watch him at his Football Clinic -- because he has had to watch countless games of his sister's, I think it's only fair, even though he doesn't really play a game.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


It's Riley's 9th Birthday today!!! She asked yesterday if we were going to go to church today or celebrate her birthday. Luckily we can do both. Actually, she was really wanting to know if we were going to church, because she was excited to pick something out of the classroom's Birthday Box on her ACTUAL birthday.

So, NINE FANTASTIC things about Riley

9. She is patient--kind of has to be to put up with her 3 younger siblings!

8. She is easy-going--thankfully she rarely gets wound up about piddly stuff, and hardly ever complains!

7. She is an encourager--helping others do something difficult

6. She is a cheerleader--happy for other's successes

5. She is a good sport--it's fun to play board games with her!

4. She is kind--we're all the lucky recipients of her kindness

3. She is funny--makes us laugh all the time

2. She is smart--this one could come back to haunt me

1. She is generous--sharing her new birthday toys with her brother and sisters!
Tomorrow's her birthday party with friends from school. Today we're enjoying the day together--cake and her favorite meal (shells and cheese) tonight.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Are You Ready For Some Football?

Cory started a program called Start Smart Football last night. It is a parent/child program that introduces preschoolers to the sport and some of the basic fundamentals. (He participated in Start Smart Basketball and Soccer last winter and spring) He came home very excited--with a flag belt around his waist, two separate tees, a t-shirt and a FOOTBALL!

This afternoon he wanted me to go outside and throw the football with him. It seemed like a fabulous idea. The weather here is OUTSTANDING and it was a perfect afternoon to be outside throwing a ball. So, Cory and I stand about 6 feet apart and he lobs the ball at me with his best throw--he's all smiles. I catch the ball and aim it for him...unfortunately he doesn't have catching down yet, and the ball hit him square in the face. What can I say, I have good aim! Smiles are gone; they're replaced by tears. :(

I'm trying to convince him that he'll be okay and we should keep throwing so he can get better. His crying and tears tell me he's clearly not convinced. So then I say, "That must be why real football players wear helmets--so their faces don't get smashed."

He replies, "Yeah! A helmet! I'll be right back." This is how he comes back:

Thanks, Uncle Brad! It was perfect--at least for a throw or two, before he decided it was too cumbersome. If nothing else, it distracted him from crying for a minute! :)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Mr Filbey Would Be Proud

MB had a soccer game this morning. She continues to get better each week. Here is a quick video highlight of her goal today (She is the girl in the yellow jersey and long pants). That's proud dad screaming for her on the audio.

I have another clip of her playing defense. The don't use a goalkeeper...but they pick one of the four kids each quarter to play back and defend more than anything else. She says she likes to play defense. I'm proud of her staying in position and tracking the ball...then attacking.

A final clip. Lucy is still in the learning phases.

Leaving a Legacy

This could be the beginning of the end. I like to tell people about a passage in Heller's book Catch-22 where an old Italian man says to an American soldier what makes you think America will be great forever. He's commenting on how the Roman Empire fell...and all great "empires" fall.

I think America is heading down for that fall. If we do not get some fiscal responsibility in government we will be there sooner than you think. We already spend way more than we take in and yesterday we just added a potential $700B additional burden to our treasury. When will it stop. Why can't government leaders make hard choices and say we have to balance the books? The pundits all talk about greed and banks making shaky loans and people buying big mortgages that they cannot sustain. Where is the pointing at Elected officials and their greed? They make decisions to get re-elected not to benefit the people. Just look at the pork in the Bailout bill - that's all you need to see to understand my point. This bill that was sooooo important was ballooned to 400+ pages from it's original 3 to include waste that is beyond belief. Unfortunately both Pres candidates voted for it.

I hope you saw the interview with Bill O'Reilly and Barney Frank. I'm not a huge supporter of O'Reilly, but I loved his argument. Frank refused to take any blame for the situation. O'Reilly called him a COWARD. I agree. Someone needs to get in front of the podium and say "I made a mistake." Is that so hard?

OBTW - I plan to ask those next to me at the soccer game today how they feel about America's economy. I'll tell you if they have "fear in their voice."

Friday, October 3, 2008

Swively Chairs

Who doesn’t love a good swively chair? Ted was with me when we picked up Cory and his carpool buddies from preschool. Upon our return to the base, we were dropping Ted off at his office building, and it just so happens that the dad of one of the boys in our van works in the same building. The boy was curious what we were doing there, and when he found out that Ted works there, he said his daddy did, too. He then said, “My daddy’s in charge of the whole work. He has the biggest office with lots of swively chairs.” You know you’re in charge when you have lots of swively chairs.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

a mid-day off

As you probably know, New England is famous for its autumn...and with good reason (although, I must tell you that Northern Virginia's fall is pretty darn awesome, too). Well, we are close to the height of the season, and the leaves are just stunning. Hopefully we'll go out sometime soon and scope out some great landscapes.

Yesterday we took the kids on another fun fall adventure. They had the day off in observance of Rosh Hashanah, so Ted took the day off and we drove north to Parlee Farms where we headed out to their apple orchards and picked apples, rummaged around their pumpkins for some overpriced farm pumpkins, and strolled down the raspberry bushes for some fresh raspberries. The best part is the apple cider donuts, though, that you can buy hot and fresh there. Yum, yum, yum.
We came home with 20 pounds of apples (we selected Jonagolds) and made two apple pies last night. So good. It was missing the a la mode part, though. Must go buy some ice cream tomorrow!!

We also came home with 2 quarts of raspberries that I was planning to make jam with. I say was because sadly we left them on the counter last night, and apparently fresh raspberries must be refrigerated, because they looked awful this morning. How disappointing. They were good at the farm at least, and I picked out a few this morning for my cereal.