Jul 30, 2008

Camping

Over the past 5 years my parents have become avid campers. They have upgraded their camp trailer a few times and have recently purchased a membership into a camping club. Since we only get out here to visit once a year, we haven't had the chance, until now, to enjoy camping with them. This past weekend we went up to Pollock Pines, just an hour outside of Sacramento, to spend the weekend camping with my parents.

Their trailer is really nice, and since it was over 90 degrees where we were camping, the AC was wonderful! The campground that we stayed at had a big pool and a wading pool, which is where we spent most of our days. The boys had fun playing in the trailer, while the adults enjoyed lounging around with nothing much to do. We played games, went on some walks, roasted marshmallows and enjoyed the quiet environment.

When I was little we used to go camping a few times a year. However, we never had a trailer! I remember camping in a tent, washing dishes in buckets, and trekking to the local bathroom in the middle of the night when I really really had to go. These days, my parent's trailer is self contained. Complete with a fridge, a/c, full bathroom, surround sound speakers, and living space bigger than my first apartment - they are "camping" in style.

It was a great break from our "busy" vacation schedule, and it was great to see how my parents are spending their free time. The smell of pine needles, the quiet pitch black night, and the bright stars peaking through the tree tops, make for a very relaxing environment.

Jul 29, 2008

The following was sent to me from a friend, and fellow military wife

What is a MILITARY Wife?
They may look different and each is wonderfully unique
But this they have in common.

They have THIS IN COMMON!
Lots of moving---
Moving
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 dependent', but she knows better
She can balance a checkbook
Handle the yard work
Fix a noisy toilet.
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
Military Wives are somewhat hasty
They leap into decorating, leadership, volunteering, career
Alternatives, churches and friendships
They don't have 15 years to get to know people.
Their roots are
Short but flexible.
They plant annuals for themselves and
Perennials for those who come after them.
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 just
Decide to quit he's on-call for his country 24/7 but for you, he's
The most unreliable guy in town!
His language is foreign
TDY
PCS
OPR
ACC
BDU
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.
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.
Why?
What for?
How come?
You may think it is because she has lost her mind.
But actually it is because she has lost her heart.
It was stolen from her by a man
Who puts duty first
Who longs to deploy
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.

Jul 24, 2008

Another week come and gone.

We celebrated my dad's retirement this past Sunday. Mom rented a hall, selected a caterer, and then gave my sister and I some cash to take care of decorations and other details. We wanted the day to be entertaining and special for both my dad and his guests, so my sister and I, with the help of our kids, put together a little something-something for the party. Basically, it was a version of Family Feud and all the topics were about my dad. The guests seemed to have fun, dad enjoyed it, and we declared the party and the game a success!
The rest of the week was filled with swim lessons, picking out new decor and paint for my mom and dad's bedroom, hanging out with Kaia and my grandma, a sick day, and taking the boys to see their first musical! Last week I was having dinner with my in-laws in Auburn and noticed a little advertisement for a local production of Seussical. I have heard great things about the show and figured it would be a good chance to take the boys to see a musical. My sister and the girls, the boys, and I had dinner and then settled into our seats at the local high school. The show was definitely low budget, and all of the actors were kids, but it was still a great performance and a good opportunity for the boys to get a taste of theatre. I need to remember to check out my local high school and college performances when I get back home. The boys really enjoyed the show. A matinée would have been a little easier on them, but they still had fun.
Eli and I are still fighting off a cold, but are moving forward to meet my parents up in the foothills to go camping for the weekend. We are looking forward to some lazy days!
Matt will join us next Wednesday! The boys and I miss him a lot and are looking forward to him joining us on our vacation.
I've added more pictures to our shutterfly site, just follow the link and type the password "ourphotos".

Jul 19, 2008

Cheap Gas!

I have been on the west coast long enough to get used to the gas prices. Gas has ranged from $4.09 - $4.50 throughout my journey so far. Today, I glanced over at an Arco that I was driving past and noticed that gas was $4.21. No kidding, I thought to myself "wow gas is getting cheap"!

Jul 17, 2008

Time is flying by!

I can't believe how fast time is going by. I wonder if our summer would have passed so quickly if we would have stayed home?
The kids started swim lessons this week and are doing so well. Gabe is very comfortable putting his head under water and is learning to kick and use his "scoopers". The funny thing about Gabe is that he prefers a leisurely swim. He kicks about 1/3 of the speed required to stay afloat. Eli is doing great. He loves being in the water. He is learning to swim freestyle.
After swim lessons this past Monday, my sister and I took the kids to SunSplash. It is a big waterpark here in town. We all had so much fun. Gabe was too little to ride anything but the kiddie slides, but that was enough. He spent about 5 hours in this super cool slide/pool/fountain area designed for little kids but enough fun to capture the attention of the big ones too. Eli and Kaia could go on some slides on their own and some with an adult. Katina and I took turns taking them on the big slides, while Colton and Makenna were off on their own. It was really so much fun! The weather was perfect too. Not too hot to make waiting in lines miserable but not too cold for the water to still be refreshing.
The rest of the week was spent at swim lessons each morning, visiting family, and mostly just hanging around. I took the boys to get their pictures taken, finally. I think it has been 3 years since Eli had pictures taken in a studio and even longer since the kids had pictures taken together. I usually have a mental breakdown due to the stress of these typs of photos BUT thanks to the speedy professionalism of "Tonie", the photogirl, all went well.
Tonight we are off to see Matt's brother, Grayson, pitch for the GoldSox, a local collegiate level team.
Electronics update: I bought a new camera due to the great sandstorm at Ocean Shores, but now the laptop is suffering minor strokes every once in a while so I haven't uploaded any new pictures. I'll work something out and get more photos posted to my shutterfly page soon.

Jul 12, 2008

Lazy Days in California

The day after we arrived in California the mercury hit 100 and stayed in the triple digits for the entire week. In addition to the blistering heat, the skies were filled with smoke from nearby fires making play time outside dangerous to our health. The fenced-in yard with the wading pool just on the other side of the window was so tempting for the boys and they just didn't understand why they couldn't go outside to play. By the end of the week the skies were clearer and the boys disappeared into their world of splashing, swimming, and pouring water on each other in the pool. We also made it out to a local water park and pool and played and had a picnic at a neighborhood park.
It is hard to believe that we have already been in California for a week. Time is flying by so fast!
Coming up next, the boys start swim lessons and we will finish the preparations for my dad's retirement party next Sunday.

Jul 8, 2008

Looking for photos?

If you are interested in seeing more photos from our time in Washington, check out my shutterfly page
http://comosedice.shutterfly.com/action/
the password is ourphotos

Jul 6, 2008

What a week!

The week we spent at my cousin Rhonda's house in Blaine, Wa went by way too fast. Every day brought some new adventure, laughter and great memories. We spent two days at the lake swimming, riding the wave runner, and soaking up the sun. We also visited a local dairy farm, where Mike used to work, to show the kids how Darigold gets their milk and visit all of the baby animals on the farm. There were stops at local ice cream shops, time in the pool, yard games, bike riding, and the newest addition to family fun - the Wii. We had a few bond fires, ate like kings, were spoiled by Mike's made to order morning coffee and my Aunt Syl's famous (at least in our family) fresh strawberry pie. We picked up fresh berries at Barb's berries almost every day, and successfully ate about 4 flats in as many days. We went to Canada to play 5 pin bowling and eat fish and chips, and celebrated the 4th of July by watching an old fashioned parade and fireworks in Blaine.
I was so blessed to spend time with my Aunt and Uncle, grandparents, sister and brother-in-law, my nieces, my cousins, and the Mlacks. At one point there were 18 people in Rhonda's house! I can't even describe how much fun we had in Washington and how overwhelmingly blessed I feel to have had this opportunity.
The week came to an end, I cried my eyes out saying goodbye to my cousins and the Mlacks, and then the journey to California began. Eight of us (we convinced Rhonda to send her son Colton down with us) piled in the van and began the 14 hour drive to Roseville, CA. We drove straight through with the exception of gas and potty stops. We stuck to a strict policy of switching drivers when they started driving by braile and made it home without incident.
As I looked through my pictures from Washington I am so happy to have the memories from the week and so thankful that God blessed me with so many wonderful family and friends. And now a new adventure begins . . .