Wednesday, September 12, 2012

2 years, 5 months

Because I don't want to forget, because I don't want to ever have trouble remembering what this kid was doing and saying when he was this age, full of cuddly-love-me and I-can-do-it-myself age.  Third kid is a tough birth order: fewer pictures, less recordings of every little milestone.  But oh, how I love him!

First, names of his favorite people:
(I'm not including Mama and Daddy because OF COURSE he can say Mama and Daddy)

Wee Vwee:  Avery
Aiyah:  Callie
Beebee: cousin Luke
Dahdoo:  cousin Andrew
Beepa:  Grandpa (LOVE this one)
Mimi:  Grammy (kinda want to keep calling her Mimi because he came up with that himself...not sure how  Grammy would feel about that, though!)
Nina:  Aunt Jatana
Dah (sometimes Uhn Dah):  Uncle Scotty
Nana and Poppy are clear as day, no interpretation needed for those

Names for things:
Coll:  cloth, his must-have for nap/bed time
Ber or Ber-ee:  a little stuffed bird he loves to death, also must-have for nap/bed time
Quee or Keen:  Lightning McQueen
By baa:  iPad
Gees: shoes
Flufful:  Garfield, as in The Garfield Show
Moo:  spoon
Eli:  sounds more like "eeeeeli"

He has many more words, and his speech is coming in clearer every day.  He can name body parts (including *cough* boy parts *cough*) and diaper and paper and bed and talks in sentences, kind of, and he tries to repeat things we say like "Oh, man" when he's disappointed.  He tries to sing the blessing at meals and wants me to sing to him for nap time and bed time.  I absolutely love this kid.  His sisters aren't half bad, either.

And to add to the cutest boy EVER, he also has taken to telling his sisters to "Have a good day!" when we drop them off at school.  Except he sounds like, "Da dah doo day, Aiyah!"  And then when we pick them up after school he runs and gives them a big hug and then asks, "Aiyah (or We Vwee), di doo dah da doo day?"  SO CUTE.  He also thinks Callie stays on the play ground when she goes to school since that's where she plays until it's time to go inside the building.  CUTEST BOY EVER!!



Wednesday, August 08, 2012

One day...

One of these days, I keep saying, I'm going to post more than once a month.  And one of these days has still not come.  We're settled in our house in England and have made a trip back to the States to visit family.  Our HHG (household goods...in other words, OUR WHOLE LIFE) will be delivered in a week (yay!) and then we can begin the process of unpacking.  In the meantime, I have pictures from our trip to Australia I never posted.  And because I know you want to see our vacation pictures YOU KNOW YOU DO, I'll have to post them.  Maybe.  But for now I leave you with probably the funniest picture I have so far of Avery.  She was getting ready to go snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef and had just put on her mask.  I asked if the mask was too tight and her response was, "Nope."

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Almost there...and now we're done

On June 13th we left Japan and have been living out of suitcases ever since.  Our internet has been either non-existent or very expensive so we haven't been online all that much.  But we are on our last leg of our journey to England and we are all pretty much ready to just be there so we can get settled.  The kids have been great with all the flights (7 so far) but all the different time zones have messed us all up with sleeping and Eli is back to waking up in the middle of the night like he did when he was a tiny baby.  I miss sleeping uninterrupted.  So.  So.  Much.

Just so the kids will know what exactly we went through to get from Japan to England, with a vacation to Australia in the middle, this is what we did:

Japan to Guam (left really late at night), got to Guam at 3am, went to sleep in the hotel at around 4am, woke up at 11am, left Guam at 5pm

Guam to Cairns, Australia-- went straight to hotel, slept, checked out, and went back to the airport

Cairns to Sydney-- checked in at hotel and stayed for 5 nights, totally had fun walking around the city and visiting a wildlife park

Sydney to Cairns-- only here for a little more than a day but we went snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef!  BEST VACATION EVER.  So want to do that again!

Cairns to Guam-- left Cairns really late, 0035 or so, and got in to Guam around 4am (what's up with the late-night flights?!)

Guam to Hawaii--  we stayed in Hawaii a little over 24 hrs so we rented a car and stayed at our favorite Marine Base in Kaneohe Bay (the ONLY Marine base in Kaneohe Bay).  We ate dinner at Quizno's and loved it.  Also went shopping at Target but didn't get much...not sure how I managed to get out of that store without spending tons of money

Hawaii to Newark, NJ-- after a 9hr flight where we didn't get pillows, I had to beg for another blanket for Eli, and we weren't served any meals except a snack (but they had some for sale! if you wanted to pay $10 for a sandwich!) we landed in Newark.  By now we were checking EIGHT pieces of luggage (the girls' boosters in one bag, pack n play, stroller, 4 suitcases and a huge duffle bag) and carrying on Eli's car seat (we had a rolling luggage cart strapped to it, made life much easier), my camera bag, Josh's backpack with laptops and iPad inside, and two rolling carry-ons with important documents and DVD player/movies, and a bag of snacks.  Oh, and Callie got a kangaroo backpack in Sydney so she had that with their iPods and headphones inside.  We are insane.

Rode from Newark to NYC hotel in an airport shuttle.  At least it was 1130am when we landed in Newark and we weren't too tired.

NYC to London-- we stayed in NYC for 4 nights, went to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, walked around everywhere, went to toy stores, ate the best ice cream EVER at Emack and Bolio's, and went to a Yankees game (they won!).  Our time in NYC was short and we didn't get to do everything we wanted but we still had fun.  While we were there our UK visas arrived.

London--we took off from NYC at 6pm and landed in London at 6am.  It was only a 6hr flight so we were all very tired when we got off the plane.  Since then we've been living in the TLF (basically the hotel on base).  We found a house to rent with 6 teeny tiny bedrooms and bought our cars.  Now we're waiting on our move-in date and will have to figure out how our furniture will fit into the bedrooms.  We're still not in a set routine, Eli is still waking up crying for "Daaaaa-deeeeeeee" and we are not getting enough sleep.  We are still living out of suitcases but at least I don't have to pay $8 to wash clothes (the hotel in NYC).  And I have a car so I'm not stuck on base, not that I know where I'm going yet.  But if I get lost I can ask for directions because everyone speaks English.  Yay!  It's nice to finally be here.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

In Transition

We are finally completely out of our house on base and in our hotel off-base (which is really a furnished condo/apartment right on the seawall).  It's been a stressful last few days with trying to get the house cleaned and emptied and moving everything and trying to keep the kids as settled as possible.  Eli has missed some naps here and there and has given us hell for it but it couldn't be helped.  He's a kid who still needs a nap every day and even though he does well during his nap time, towards the end of the day he is a grumpy, cranky mess and no one can do anything right.  These next three weeks of traveling are going to be GREAT, I can already tell.

I am a little sad about leaving our house.  Not like when we moved here from Florida, that house I really miss.  But this one, I will kind of miss it.  I will miss our friends more, the ones who have been with us all three years and the ones we just met a few months ago.  It will be hard saying goodbye to them.  I know we have Facebook and all that but it's not the same.  I will miss walking out in the backyard and seeing a friendly wave or being able to watch the kids outside playing with their friends.  This is the part I don't like.

On Wednesday the girls will finish their last day of Kindergarten and Third Grade and we will leave that night.  The girls will miss the last day of school (Thursday) and we keep trying to make Callie feel better about it by talking about where we're going and what we'll be doing.  She's trying hard to be upbeat and happy.  It's hard for her, really hard, to say goodbye. 

Wednesday night we start our adventure to Australia.  I haven't thought much about it because I've been so preoccupied with the PCS, selling the cars, getting loaner cars, moving out of the house, meeting with friends, etc.  Now that I have a break while Eli naps, I can really think about it: we are going to Australia.  AUSTRALIA IN TWO DAYS.  I mean, how cool is that?!  Very cool, I'd say.

In a little while I'll have to get the boy up from his nap and go pick up Avery from school.  Callie is going to play with her two greatest friends (Alli and Ellie--what are the chances of three girls named Callie, Alli, and Ellie becoming friends?) at a play park for the afternoon.  Then the girls and I will go get pedicures and massages for the last time this evening.  We'll have two more days on this little island.  And then we're gone.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

PCS Season

We are currently knee-deep in PCS preparations and for those of you who don't know what PCS stands for, it means the Air Force is yanking us and our children away from the life we've built for the past three years and plunking us down in the middle of some strange land with strange people and saying LIVE HERE.  LOVE IT.  Because YOU HAVE NO CHOICE.  We are still a few weeks away from our pack-out date but we are still having to plan things and get things done.  We have to sell our cars because they won't let us move with cars still registered in our names and yet we still need a car because the girls still need to get to school and Josh still needs to work.  Oh, you thought they'd give him time off so he can get everything done that needs to be done before we move?  I can't even think of something funny in response to that except to laugh.  LAUGH!  You do know we're talking about the federal government, right?

So!  Onward and forward and all that, today we pulled out a mildewed tent and moldy sleeping bags and smelly stuff sacks from our storage room and threw it all in the washer.  Well, except the tent.  That we set up in the backyard and let the kids run in and out while Josh washed it with soap and I sprayed it with water and watched the 980 degree sun dry it in exactly 0.443 seconds.  It was HOT today!  The sleeping bags now smell like Tide April Rain Flowers Rainbows Unicorns (look for it in the store, it has the light blue lid!) because of course I used the expensive stuff** on things we haven't used in over three seven ten years so they would smell fresh for 4 weeks until they get packed in a cardboard box and start smelling like death again. 

This coming week I will start selling things to unassuming strangers, people who are undoubtedly glued to the yard sale websites looking for a "Good Deal!"  "Must Sell!" "PCSing and not taking anything with us!" and I am hoping to make a little money.  Maybe enough to treat myself to one last dinner at the sushi-go-round.

Sigh.  Sushi.  How I will miss you.

Depending on the moods and behaviors of the children they may or may not be sold as well.  The 2 year old likes to clean right now.  Make him earn his keep.  You can pay him in tickle sessions and high-fives.

We are so close to the end but the end is currently covered in paperwork and suitcases and unwanted toys that I am making my children give away.  "But I LOOOVE that bear!" "You haven't played with this bear in 6 months.  This bear hasn't moved from this shelf for so long it has dust on its fur."  "BUT I MIGHT WANT TO PLAY WITH IT AGAIN SOMEDAY!"

I can survive this PCS, I know I can, but this is the time when things get stressful.  It WILL be over soon.

**have you SEEN how much Tide costs?  It's almost three times more than what we used to use which I would totally still be using but I made the mistake of opening the Tide bottle in the store and was captivated by the rainbow that flew out followed by tiny dancing unicorns and I knew I HAD to use that bottle.  Tide sure knows how to hook customers with their advertising.  Tide is also being used as payment for drugs, did you know this?  Apparently it can get as much as $25 on the black market for a single bottle of laundry detergent so drug dealers are asking to be paid in Tide.  It smells that good.  I am SO in the wrong business.




Thursday, May 03, 2012

My Big Enough God

I had mine and Callie's Hong Kong Disneyland trip planned for months.  Josh put in for leave (a day off) and we had two neighbors agree to be our Plan B if something happened and Josh had to work or leave for an unexpected TDY.  As our leave date crept closer, I realized my planning was not going to go as planned.

Josh came home from work the week before our departure date and said, "Expect me to have to leave on Saturday.  I don't know if I'll be home before you go.  Make sure Beth (#2 on our Plan B) is ready to take care of the kids (including Trim)."

I protested and argued about how unfair that was, he had leave on the books, IT'S IN THE BOOKS THEY HAVE TO GIVE IT TO YOU, knowing full well that I couldn't change a thing about what was going on.  I talked to Beth, made sure she understood what was going on and thankfully she was flexible and didn't have a problem just bringing her two boys to our house (they live right behind us...not like they had to go far!) and just camp out in our house so Eli could sleep in his own bed and Trim could be comfortable, too.  God blessed Beth with such an out-going, wonderful personality and He put her in the house behind us almost three years ago for this very reason.  He knew what I needed even while I had no clue.

I went so far as to type up all kinds of instructions (with Josh teasing me the whole time) for Beth and showed her how to work Eli's crib and where things were in the house and all the little things that I took for granted because I do them every single day with the kids but when I have to actually tell someone else it takes up four pages of 8pt. font.  Single-spaced.

Well, Saturday came and went, Josh never left, and I was beginning to think everything was going to work out and he'd be home after all.  And then the Monday before our Thursday departure, he got the call to go.  I prayed hard that he would be back in time to be home with the youngest two.  Not that I didn't trust Beth, but it was hard enough for me knowing I was getting ready to go to another country without them.  Knowing they were not going to have their dad around, either, was doubly hard.

But!  No fear, God heard my prayers.  Josh ended up coming home on Tuesday night.  Huge sigh of relief!  Everyone exhaled and relaxed a little until I started feeling a little queasy around 8pm on Tuesday.  I thought it was just the decongestant I had been taking (oh, I had a cold, too, which made me very worried about flying) but no, it wasn't.

Just FYI:  Mt. Dew is not a good thing to drink for dinner when you are going to throw up later. 

At 2:30am Wednesday morning the first of many trips to the bathroom started.  It was awful.  I remember throwing up as a kid and I am always grateful that as an adult I don't catch those kinds of viruses often at all.  Very rarely do I get sick like that, but this one?  Was horrible.  And to make matters worse, I had to SIT on the toilet and throw up in the trashcan if you know what I mean. 

What, TMI?  You might want to stop reading now.

When I wasn't throwing up or trying to beat my bowels to the bathroom (didn't win that race once or twice...YUCK) I was either sleeping or catching up on Season 2 of The Walking Dead on my iPhone.  Josh tried to take care of me the best he could but with his gag reflex being so sensitive he couldn't hang around for long.  I love him more for doing what he did, though.  He took the kids to work with him for a few hours and kept them out of the bedroom in hopes that I wouldn't spread to them whatever virus I had (that worked, by the way, none of the kids nor Josh ever got sick, praise the Lord).  By lunchtime Wednesday I had stopped throwing up and started craving ice water.  But I was still running to the bathroom for...the other problem...and I still couldn't eat much of anything.

I prayed and prayed that I would be better by Thursday afternoon.  I had a lot of time to reflect on the blessings God had already given me by bringing Josh home early, by allowing him to be home when the virus hit, by giving him an understanding commander and letting him bring the kids in to work for a few hours (Eli entertained everyone who walked by Josh's office, apparently, and was a complete ham.  The girls were glued to the DVD player the whole time.  I married a smart man who knows his kids!).  My biggest blessing?  That the virus hit while I was still at home and not while I was in Hong Kong with Callie.  THAT is huge.

Josh jokingly told me Wednesday night that I had to be better by Thursday morning because he had to go in to work that day, no matter what.  God healed me enough that I could get out of bed, shower, and get the kids up and going without any incidents.  He also blessed us with a doctor for a neighbor who gave me some meds to help with the...other problem...which I was still having, just not as frequently.  If there's one place you don't want to have uncontrollable bowels, it's an airplane.  Eww.  I still wasn't eating very much and occasionally felt nauseous but I knew we would be going on our trip.  The look of relief on Callie's face when I walked in her room on Thursday morning was priceless.  Josh told me she had cried the day before, worried that I wouldn't get better in time to take her to Hong Kong.  My God is SO GREAT!

I didn't ride as many rides as Callie wanted and I did ride one thing that made me feel sick the rest of the day but other than that, we were so blessed to have that trip.  We prayed before our flight that we'd have no ear pain (both of us have that problem on flights) and we both did great.  Callie prayed for me before riding Space Mountain that I wouldn't feel sick afterwards and I didn't.  We prayed again for our flight home that we wouldn't have ear pain and we didn't.  What a great boost to our faith to have answered prayer after answered prayer!

So many blessings, so many ways God had His Hand on that trip.  I am so glad Callie and I got to do that, it is something I will never forget.  I loved that one-on-one time with her at such a magical place (even Hong Kong Disneyland is magical) and I am thankful the Lord showed me what He can do.  He is big enough to fill every need exactly when we need it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Side-tracked

I am excited to write what God did for me (and Callie!) with my trip to Hong Kong and I was going to write about it last night.  Instead I was thrown for a loop when a friend told me of some troubles she's having with another friend, actually one of our neighbors.  She wasn't telling me to be gossipy, but to make sure I warn my girls about what NOT to do.  But in order to do that, she had to tell me the whole story, which sadly involved Security Forces and scaring my friend's children half to death thinking their mama was going to jail.  It broke my heart that she is going through this and now makes me nervous for my children to even be around this other person.  So.  Needless to say I was a little preoccupied last night trying to figure out exactly how I feel about this whole situation and what I need to do (if anything) besides pray for both of them.

I am not going to name names of course, but if you read this, please say a prayer of peace and safety for one friend, and a prayer of wisdom and grace and civility for the other.  We all only have a few months left here.  It'd be nice if we can all just get along without the added stress of walking on eggshells around each other. 

Does anyone even blog anymore?

Wow, so...yeah.  It's been a long time.  Every time I sit down to the computer I think I should totally write a blog post about...something.  And then I go to the blog and see the picture of my cat and think Maybe I'll just check Facebook one more time and then posting is gone out of my head because there's just no returning from Facebook.

A lot has happened since that last post, most of which I have had every intention of writing about but never really got around to it.  My Baby Boy turned TWO so I guess that makes him not much of a baby anymore.  He had his check-up and his lack of speech concerned the doctor enough that she told me he needed to be checked again at our next base.  Which, I kinda knew that was coming because the kid still talks gibberish 99.2% of the time. She asked me if I wanted her to give me a referral to have his hearing checked as a first step to speech therapy and I practically shouted NO! at her because we are this close to moving to our next base (ENGLAND!  WOO!) and any kind of referral for any kind of service now could possibly keep us from going.  I mean, England has speech therapy, too, so I'm not worried about it.  For now I'm brushing up on my sign language skills so Eli will hopefully learn some new words between now and then.  If you need to know how to sign home or apple I am the one to ask!

There was also my girls' trip to Hong Kong Disneyland with Callie.  That trip even happening after the events that took place beforehand is a miracle in itself, one I will talk about later (and not a month later, hopefully only a day later, or maybe even later tonight I AM ON A ROLL DON'T STOP ME).  We had a great time and the flights to and from Hong Kong were uneventful and I am so happy we took that trip together.

Then I turned 37 and blah blah blah that brings us to today.  Nothing has happened today.  Except maybe we'll get Eli's hair cut this evening?  After we pick up the dry cleaning?  You know, do all your errands at once, right?

We'll see.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Our sweet Radar

It's always a sudden tragedy that makes people hate living overseas. Everything's going along fine and then suddenly something happens and you don't want to be 7,000 miles away from your family.

Radar is gone. I mean, I knew this would happen eventually but I was kinda hoping Josh and I could be the ones to be with him at the end. I wanted to say goodbye. I wanted the kids to be able to say goodbye. I wanted to see Eli love on him Radar, to sign "kitty" and watch him with fascination like he does with our neighbors' cats.  I wanted to have that closure, you know?

He's been "not quite himself" for awhile now. I noticed he was a little skinnier when we went home in December of 2010, but I was hoping he'd be okay, that he'd make it until we could get back home this summer.

He didn't. Josh's parents made the tough decision to have the vet put him to sleep. He just wouldn't have made it much longer anyway, from what we're told. Deep down I know it was the right decision. He was having trouble breathing and he just wasn't getting better. It was the right decision. Still, it sucks.

I wanted to be there. He is the first cat I adopted when I was officially an adult, out on my own, with a JOB and bills and an apartment all to myself. He was MY cat. He loved Josh, too, but he was mine.

We were entertained and loved and annoyed by him for 14 years. I miss him so much.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

And then there's today

I know it's because I wrote that post yesterday.  It's because I let it all hang out and told the truth and let everyone know my children are not perfect and I'm not perfect.

They were perfect today.

Well, okay, not PERFECT, but close to it.  I didn't hear any complaining about getting dressed and no stragglers in the bathroom and no whining about getting slathered with sunscreen.  Even Eli was happy to eat his cinnamon toast and he didn't throw anything!  Although he did let his orange juice dribble down his chin onto his shirt...

But today!  They were great.  And I know not every day is going to be like it was this morning, but after having days and days and even weeks of nothing but that other stuff, it was a nice reprieve.

Now if the girls come home from school arguing or if the boy wakes up grouchy, I'm not making any promises, but you might just see them sitting on the side of the road with the trash.