Sunday, August 31, 2008

Busy, Busy.

We had such a busy weekend away and are home and exhausted. Just had time for dinner (KFC) and a bath for the kids (hooo, what dirty water - sign of good fun) and they are in bed and I should be. I'll blog in detail soon and have tons of pictures but for now you'll have to survive on a single picture of Gideon. I can't believe how big he is getting. And yet still not big enough to get this ball in his mouth which is what he wanted.

Friday, August 29, 2008

A Message From Rob

Hi all,

Well, as promised, things have gotten harder here in order to be able to keep in touch now that I'm in the great tent city at Fort Bragg. Locally, it's referred to as FOB Patriot - a simulated forward operating base which we will be training on for the remainder of our time here. I now live in a"spacious" 16-man tent, with only 10 people in it for now. So we do have some room to spare. Most of our troops are in similar arrangements, but some have already grown to have all 16 people inside and that makes for fairly tight living. Some time later in September, my tent will also inherit another 3-4 guests and then we'll know what that feels like!

These last 2 weeks have flown by. I haven't had a day off, but did have areally great birthday last Friday. Thanks to all of you who shared in someway to send me best wishes and gifts through E-mail or real mail. I have to admit, it was a memorable day. Perhaps my favorite moment of the day was when I got a new driver's license - yes, I'm now qualified to drive Humvee's for the Army. Woohoo! In order to get qualified, we had to take turns in all of the positions in the vehicle. Which meant that I also got to ride as the gunner once or twice. See the attached (inset by Julie) picture!

Rob in the gunner seat. (It's a lot of fun riding up there now, especially since there are neither weapons nor people shooting at you. Good to enjoy the good moments while we can.)

It was good that my birthday was nice since the rest of the weekend I spent under the weather - my small pox vaccination got the best of me, leaving me feeling feverish and without much of an appetite. By Monday that had cleared up and I was back in the saddle getting through my rifle qualifications. Beyond even my expectations, I managed to qualify everything on the first go around. Even got to do some night time firing with night-vision goggles. It's amazing the gadgets the Army has to work with.

This weekend will not be "off" for us either, but our training day ended early and I found the Internet hot spot in tent city. The rest of the weekend we're going through combat-related first aid classes and even on Labor Day we'll be training. Still, I wish you the best in whatever downtime you get to enjoy. Thanks for keeping up with my family as well and may you all enjoy some well-deserved rest. We're under 50 days now until we get a leave period. Time sure is passing quickly and I'll be glad to get home for a few days. Until next update...


Thursday, August 28, 2008

It's Real Life

Yoohoo! Farm Fresh is hosting another It's Real Life Thursday and I am so there! I'm not even home (this is the second IRL that I've posted from out of town) but I peeked at the theme last night and took pictures before I left the house this morning. You can participate by clicking on the It's Real Life badge and going following the directions. You can also go there and see what others have posted for IRL. Enjoy!

This week's theme is How I Roll:

I Freestyle. Like my own personal cruise ship where I can eat or swim whenever I want. Except that my car doesn't have a pool. Or waiters.
There she is in all her glory. And I do know how to frame a picture. I cut off the front so I didn't have to worry about blurring out the license plate.

The front seat. Those are the kids' jackets on the passenger side. Just in case. The weather has been crazy here lately. Hot one minute, raining the next. That's my garbage bag on the floor. With the garbage also on the floor because I can't reach it from the driver's seat. When it accumulates enough I'll actually pick it up and put it in the bag. Then when the bag is overflowing full, I empty it in the garbage can. It's nice to see that I've been drinking water, both those bottles are empty.

The middle row with all three, yes all THREE car seats, in the same row.
That's the floor in front of the carseats. If you try really hard you can imagine there is a floor under all that stuff. Backpack, bags of toys, books, blankets... You name it, it's down there I'm sure.

What we like to call the "napkin box". It also houses the vehicle manual and registration.

I have the third row seat folded down and my double stroller back there. You can also see on the jumper cables, above that the red thing near the window is a First Aid kit. The blue thing is a Fisher Price mirror that attaches to the seat and under the white blanky thingy (it's actually a chux if you know what those are) is my Moby Wrap. I nearly moved the white blanky thingy so you could see it until I remember you aren't supposed to primp or prep. I think there might be a dirty diaper in there somewhere too from the BBQ at the Y the other day when I changed Zion in the back of the car.

And when I don't have the kids with me this is how I roll. Yes, it's not too often but it sure is fun to drive. My little 1989 Mustang GT 5.0! She sure sounds pretty.

4-Month Check

Gideon is:
15 lb 7 oz
25 1/2 inches long
and the picture of health

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

1 Down 11 To Go

It was a month ago today that I dropped Rob off at the airport. Now technically we will get to see him before then. In fact, I added a ticker at the bottom of the page that is counting down to the approximate time when we will get to see him. But in the big picture, we are 1/12th of our way through our time of separation. Yoohoo!

In this first month I got to go to the ER with one of my children for the first time and call Poison Control for one of my children for the first time. I kissed innumerable booboos and dried many tears and gave hundreds of hugs in addition to the bedtime stories, baths, and wonderful smiles that I've enjoyed. Some may feel sorry for me being "left alone" but I hope that you don't. Like I've said a number of times since we found out he was leaving, I'll have good days and bad but I would have good days and bad even if he were here. And, heck, I've got it easy here really, I've still got my beautiful babies with me.

We still ask that you remain in prayer for us and stay in touch. I am so grateful for the prayers and warm thoughts to date and am convinced that the only way I have felt so good about things is because I am being lifted up in prayer. I do feel like I have gained strength and confidence and that is a blessing. So thank you and celebrate with me. 1 down and 11 to go!

Family Barbecue

Last Saturday my family got together to remember my Grandma. My Uncle Mark and my Grandpa were able to come up from Arizona for a couple of weeks. Earlier some of us had been able to get together for lunch as well. I wish the circumstances were different. I wish my Grandma were here. I miss her so much and I'm still having a hard time getting my brain to fully understand that she is gone. Everytime I post a good story or a cute picture of the kids I still think "Grandma's going to love this one!"
Grandpa and Gideon share a moment. Now I have pictures of Grandpa holding all three of my kids when they were babies. Amazing considering he lives in Arizona and we've split our time between Rhode Island and Washington.
Jamie joins in and makes Gideon laugh.
Jordan, Bob and Karen relax in the shade.
Zion, well Zion was Zion. She gorged herself on fruit and got covered in fruit juice which made the dog lick the side of her head until her hair stuck up everywhere. She was also playing outside and dirt stuck all over the juice and dog slobber. And she enjoyed every minute of it.
She was really hamming it up while I took pictures. Every time I called her name she'd shut her eyes and tip her head back. Silly goose.

I'm a little bummed that I didn't get many other pictures. My sister's friend Kerri did come and take some family pictures though so I guess all is not lost.

Disclaimer: I do feel like I need to explain the binky. She used to only have her binky in her crib and the car. In fact, her bed binky always stayed in her bed and the car binky stayed attached to her car seat. A week or so after Rob left she started looking for him. About a week after that she started wanting her binky more (we actually call it a "plug") and I resisted. Anyway, in the last week or so I've caved. She misses her Daddy and needs the extra comfort. I'll worry about breaking her of the bink later.

My Big Boys

What can I say? They are both getting so grown up. You know, a whopping 4 1/2 years old and 4 months old (tomorrow).
Gideon is trying to convince me that he's ready for solids. "Look, Ma, I can even feed myself!"

And just check out that attitude! Oh yeah, he's all that! He's so cool, he's not afraid to let everyone know that he loves his Daddy!

Since Rob left Gabe has really stepped up his helpful attitude. He's getting doors for me and walking holding Zion's hand (when she'll let him) and trying his best to keep her from getting into things when I go upstairs to get Gideon down for nap. So the other day I surprised him with a big boy watch. A Thomas the train watch of course.

And of course there's my first "big boy", Towzer. He's a whopping 5, almost 6. And isn't he sweet, he hangs out with cats. But, Shhhh! Seriously, don't let word get out though, he'll be the laughing stock of all the neighborhood dogs. Both Maisy and Ben love him to death and will literally wrap their tails around his legs walking under and around him while subjecting him to rubs and head butts.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Park Day

Tuesday found us daring the clouds to open up and rain by going to the park. It spit on us a little (well, it poured on us a lot but we were still in the car and by the time we got there it stopped) but it was dry for us otherwise.
There was this cool 4-way teeter-totter that the kids loved.
Gabe arrived as SuperMarioTurtle but left as SuperLuigiTurtle. Don't ask me. I really have no idea.
Zion loves anything that will shake her up and this park had lots of such toys. This was our last Park Day for my MOPS group before the regular meetings start up again in September. I can't say that I'm sad to see summer go. Fall is my favorite season but that's not the only reason. Every time a big event, holiday or season passes for the next year it is another sign that the time Rob will be home is coming closer. Let summer pass I say! I want my Honey back home for good!

Fun Times

Last weekend our little town had their annual celebration. Though this is technically the third year we've been around for it I hadn't yet been able to go. So after church last Sunday I took the kids accompanied by one of their favorite people, Amanda from our church.

It's not a big event by any means but we had fun.
Zion's favorite part was the little wading pool they had set out but she warmed up to the toddler play area.
Gabe wanted to go down the big, big, big slide. Knowing him as I do I asked Amanda if she wouldn't mind going as well and, sure enough, Gabe was more comfortable sliding down tandem with someone. Look out, they're coming in for a landing!
Gideon slept in the stroller. Why am I not surprised, we were outside after all and that's what he does. Alright, I guess I have to concede that it was pretty much his regular nap time as well.

It turned out to be really, really hot and humid and eventually the sun chased us back home. What a fun day though.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Rocks Sand

Just a quick post about one thing from today and then I'll do a longer post later. Tonight we were at my sister's house and I got all brave and asked one of my nieces to show me how to play the guitar in Rock Band (that's a Playstation or Wii or whatever game for the uninitiated - see previous post). Well, I ended up playing guitar, my niece Jessa played drums and Gabe and Jamie shared the mic as the singers. We rocked out to Sting's Roxanne. Afterward Jamie complimented Gabe on how well he did and asked him what those great lyrics were again. He says "Rocks sand!" Of course. Why haven't they been using this song for Bob the Builder?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Happy Birthday, Honey!

Today is Rob's birthday! Happy Birthday! We got to talk early this morning and then again late tonight so we all, OK, me and Gabe with Zion and Gideon looking on, sang "Happy Birthday" over the speaker phone. Rob says some of his peers surprised him with a cake and that really warms my heart. On this side the four of us and my friend Jennifer went out to dinner to "celebrate" his birthday. Zion celebrated by peeing on Jen's lap but that's a story for another day. I was actually on top of things enough to have already gotten Rob's gifts mailed out so he got to open them today (I don't know if I would have been able to wait like that). Also, last night he got to drive a Humvee wearing night vision goggles and I think that's a pretty cool "present" that most people won't ever get (I know I'm jealous).

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Prayer Request

Prayers for Brittany over at 4LittleMen. She was rear ended today and it sent her into labor, she is delivering/has delivered her twins. She is 35 weeks along.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Last Week (or two) In Pictures

It's SuperZion! Mild mannered (not really) baby by day, goggle-wearing, zebra-riding super hero - um, also by day!
And her trusty sidekick, SuperMarioTurtle!
A Spot in the sun.
And a Gideon in the shade. My little guy's favorite thing to do out of doors is to fall asleep.
Gabe insisted on building some tracks outside the other day. I reluctantly conceded. Then it started to rain. Naturally.
Maisy escaping the sun under the slide.
My pepper has grown quite a bit bigger. I have no idea when to pick this thing or what to do with it once I do.
One would think Gideon wouldn't like getting squished.
But apparently that isn't the case.

A Great Day

I meant to post this last Thursday when it actually happened but Blogger was having issues. Regardless, it was a great day. Jonathan and Isaac got to come over for a playdate and I had a totally Martha Stewart moment and planned a craft. Yeah. Me. A craft. With kids. As if it wasn't enough having five kids for the day all by my lonesome - so not my thing either. I actually got very excited though and it turned out to be a very good thing for Gabe and Zion. Zion especially was very fussy that morning but the instant the boys showed up all the kids were too excited to be grumpy.

So we started off by playing in the pool. The forecast was for record highs so this seemed appropriate.

So it's not much of a pool but it's enough to get wet.
After lunch Zion went down for nap and the boys got to make an "ocean". Some water the color of their choice, mineral oil, sea creatures and shells and voila - an ocean!
It was all too much for Gideon, he fell asleep in his bouncy seat in the shade.
After making their ocean's we set up an obstacle course. Climb up the rope ladder, slide down the slide, leapfrog over the cooler, crawl through the tunnel, crawl through the Thomas tent, over or under the table, run through the hoola hoops and slide down into the pool. I just managed to convince them that going to the sand box after the pool was a bad idea.

Hangin' in the pool after a hard day's playin'.

Back in the cool of the house the boys build train tracks. What a great day!

Sunday, August 17, 2008


The R Word.

Video created by the Arc of Virginia and the Arc of Northern Virginia, and Blueberry Shoes Productions.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Good Laugh

This had me laughing out loud tonight despite the fact that I dealt with two non-nappers today (I guess technically 3 since Gabe didn't nap either) and the realization that our microwave is busted. Great. Just what I need. Anyway, check this out here Totally Looks Like and here Totally Looks Like - Vote.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Another "Wook!"

I just had to post this. Zion is such a crack up! Today she put her foam Dora chair on her head and said to me "'at (hat)!" then turned to Gabe and shouted "Brabra (Brother)! Wook! See! 'at!"

Gabe has been very much into playing Mario on the DS lately. So much so that Zion is starting to get confused I think. Saturday they were outside playing and Jamie and I heard her yell "Brabra! Brabra! Brabra!" only to receive no response. She finally shouts desperately "Mario!"

The Goings On

Where do I start? Zion is still giving me a run for the money. She took a tumble down the stairs yesterday, I thought I was going to have a heart attack. I never wanted a house with stairs and this is one reason why. First, we're on the stairs when she pitches her fit while I'm holding her hand and dislocates her elbow and now she falls down, OK half way down, them in the short moment I let go in order to open the baby gate. *sigh*

That girl is always pushing the envelope, testing the rules, and getting into predicaments. Funnily enough my sister and I spent the weekend going through our childhood albums which we borrowed from my mom. We were amazed at how much Zion looks like me as a child. And also the fact that in nearly every picture I was pushing the envelope, testing the rules and getting into predicaments. My mom took pictures of me sitting on top of desks, presumably where I had climbed up myself, raiding cupboards and sticking my fingers into someone's chocolate birthday cake. I guess I earned my little girl, didn't I?

Gideon is sleeping a little better. I'm almost afraid to write that for fear that I'll jinx it. I'd still like to be getting up with him less than three times a night but I'll take what I can get and last night was decent. He's getting wicked good at getting things into his mouth and loves to chew on anything he can get his little hands on. He has now rolled from back to front and front to back but is usually content to stay whatever way I put him. Very Gabe-like, that.

In addition to our walk down memory lane, Jamie and I also endeavoured to put up the family photos that we had taken before Rob left. It proved to be more difficult than expected, we met up with so many problems. I've never had problems hanging anything before. It was weird. Anyway, we finally got them up along with the shelves to hold the figurines that our friend Dr. A gave us. There is one Daddy and child figure for each of the kids so we hung a shelf to hold a figurine with each corresponding photo. I think it turned out great. It looks so out of place in my house of blank walls. I mean to continue to change that and this is a great start.

So thanks Dr. A for the figurines, Zion carried one wrapped in a blanky while we were putting them up, and Jamie for all your help - and for doing most of the work ultimately.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


Wook! That's how Zion says "look!" and lately it's one of her very favorite words. She loves to do something crazy and then gleefully shout "Wook! See!" and then do something naughty and shout, equally gleefully, "Wook! See!" Her verbal skills are improving daily and she loves to learn new words and funny sounds. She's the silliest goose of them all.

Jamie is over again this weekend and we are going through old photo albums collecting pictures of my Grandma and running across photos of me at Zion's age. The similarity is hilarious and shocking at the same time. I'm amazed, once I get a few pictures scanned I'll post some. My mom had photos of me wearing funny things, holding babies both real and plastic, and getting into everything. Hmmm, I wonder who could be taking after me? Of course, I'm not surprised. That has been my suspicion all along. Just for fun, enjoy the following - Gabe and Zion trying on their new goggles.