May 27, 2009

This is the day.

This day was busy.
This is the day that Gabriel had his class picnic. Tomorrow is his last day of school, so today the kids got to invite their family to school and have a picnic lunch.
This is also the day it rained, so the picnic was inside. Even though we had boiled hot dogs instead of BBQ, and we sat on the fellowship hall floor on our blankets instead of the grass, it was still Gabe's favorite part of the day.
This is the day that my neighbor friend moved out of her house. In my Was ist los? post, I shared a little about how sad I was that she was moving. I can't imagine living here without her. She'll actually be here for a few more days but this is the day the moving truck came. I only have a few more days of walking over there for movie night, dropping off a coffee, and playing in the alley.
This is the day, I gave her back my key. No more stealing stuff from her house (like a fully lit Christmas tree) while she is on vacation. No more sneaking in the house to put food in her fridge when she has a hard week ahead. No more.
This is the day that my friends found out their job prospects in Northern VA are crumbling away and the reality of an out of state move is hitting them.
This is the day that another friend was crushed by a family member. Why are some people so mean?
This is the day that we didn't get orders . . . again.
This is the day I lined 6 kids up on the brick planter out back and gave them all Popsicles, then brought them in to change their clothes because they were a disaster.
This is the day my niece turned 8!
This is the day that friends gathered and shared laughter and tears.
This, is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad.

May 25, 2009

Regret (verb): to think of with a sense of loss.

While I have made quite a few mistakes and poor choices in my life there are only a few things that I regret. Every day I do things that I wish I could take back, but as far as things that I "think of with a sense of loss", thankfully there are not too many.
As I was cleaning out my closet and sorting things into piles "toss", "storage", "Germany" and "hmm?" I came across our video camera. My heart sank.
I have never been good at capturing our life on video tape. My sister gave us her old camera shortly after we got married, and I can only think of a few times that we actually used it. I remember carrying it around on a trip to the Big Island and every single time I started to video tape something I left the lens cap on, so each segment of footage begins with me taking it off. I also left it on long past when I thought it was on and ended up taping things like my pocket or the inside of the backpack.
I hated carrying the camera around, I didn't enjoy taping, and then there is the nightmare that was involved in transferring all that 8mm tape to a VHS tape. So, when my sister's camera bit the dust I wasn't too heartbroken.
Then just a few weeks before I gave birth to Eli I decided we needed a new video camera. I strongly encouraged Matt to go buy us a video camera. He asked if I was sure we needed it, and I emphatically claimed we did. We HAD to document our baby right? Digital cameras were just coming out at the time and cost more than we paid for our mortgage so we opted for the Hi-8. Whatever that means.
Today, when I found the camera I dusted it off, plugged it in, rewound the tape that was in the camera, and pressed play.
August 2003. Eli is almost 1 year old. The video shows a few minutes of him playing with our neighbor. Sept 2003. 3 weeks after Eli's birthday (did I even tape his birthday? no apparently not). Eli is playing in the yard and with some toys. Dec 2003, a few entries, Eli dancing, checking out the Christmas tree, and then Christmas morning opening gifts with daddy - who by the way returned home from Iraq the night before. Also, not on the tape. The next entry was Christmas 2004! I should mention that by this time Gabriel is a baby and there is no video of the child during the first 3 months of his life. Jan 2005 there is a clip of Gabe in the tub and Eli, now 2 talking to me on camera and then the tape ends.
I sat with tears rolling down my face. I forgot what Eli sounded like when he was a little 2 year old. I forgot what he looked like when he was a new walker. I forgot how Matt interacted with Eli after being gone for nearly a year.
Then I cried some more. I mourned the loss of all the things that I should have video taped the boys doing and just didn't. First steps, birthdays, signing, talking, running, playing with each other, daddy coming home from Korea, t-ball, soccer, swim lessons, school musicals, and the list goes on.
I have no recording of Gabe's little voice at 2 years old or clips of him when he was toddling along. Although I only have a few minutes of Eli's toddler years on tape, it is something. As for Gabriel, I'll never hear his little baby voice again. All those years. 4 years of not taping anything at all.
My excuse for not taping was that it was such a hassle. I still think it is a hassle. But maybe it would have been worth it.
I have tons of pictures of the boys doing their everyday things, They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. If that is true, what is a video worth?
After I wiped the tears from my eyes I took the camera to the boys room, plugged it in (the battery still isn't charged) and started taping.

May 24, 2009

Time to Panic

When we found out that we were moving to Germany I promised myself that I was going to live in the moment and stay connected here until the very end.
I think I have done a good job of keeping that promise. A good thing right?
Yes. I am still enjoying every aspect of my life here. I haven't severed any ties, the pictures are still hung on the wall and I'm not looking for houses in Germany online.
No. I lost track of time. I didn't make any hotel reservations for the 5 days that we will be in Virginia after our household goods are gone and before we fly out to California. The result of "living in the moment" is that there is no room in the inn, literally. I called every military installation from Quantico to Andrews and nobody has any room. Military hotels are set up perfectly for a PCS move. Their rooms have fridges, microwaves, stoves, a sitting area separate from the sleeping area, washer and dryers on-site AND the cost for all these amenities is usually $45-$75. I wouldn't stay at any other establishment for that price without fearing for my heath and safety and even it it were a clean and safe place, chances are it wouldn't have any of these amenities.
After surfing the internet and checking on prices for hotels, rental cars, shipping times and regulations for the van, and thinking about the fact that we still don't have orders so we can set up the movers or buy airfare to Germany I realized IT IS TIME TO PANIC!
We don't know for sure where we are moving in Germany so we can't preregister Eli for school, accurately determine what items we should take and what ones we should store or make reservations for a hotel in Germany.
We need to sell the Mazda, but not too soon or we'll have to juggle life with one car and we need to start notifying utilities of cancellation, we need to . . . . stay calm.

May 23, 2009

That Craig and his List.

I don't know who Craig is but I love the fabulous creation of his list. It is genius!
I am a purger (not as in binge and purge - just purge, as in I can't stand having things in my house that are no longer used so I regularly go through and box them up).
For years I have taken my items to the closest Salvation Army or thrift shop. I load up a box or bag and keep in my car until I pass by one. I'm also a huge fan of just giving stuff away. A lot of the things that I have and am ready to toss were hand-me-downs, so I feel good about carrying on the tradition. And twice I have brought some stuff over to a garage sell and people actually paid me for my junk er gently used items.
But my new favorite thing is Craig. I don't ever have enough stuff to have my own garage sale but I do have some big items that are totally worth selling on Craig's list. That my friends is a fabulous situation.
There are some drawbacks to Craig's list though. The first is making contact. After setting up the ad, there are usually a bunch of emails that come through. Quite a few people just say "is it available?". Then follows emailing back and forth and finally setting up a time. I have had 10 -12 emails for things before and still nobody committed to buying, but most of the time someone puts their cash in my hand a few days later and the item is gone.
The second drawback to Craig's list is the people. There are some weird people out there. I'm not talking about the murderers and rapists. I'm talking about harmless weird people. One lady casually said "I'll be by after I run my errands". She wouldn't commit to a time or anything. Lucky for her I was going to be home all night, but clearly that isn't good CL behavior. Once she arrived, she seriously pulled $40 out of her bra to pay me. Another lady came to pick up glass coffee and end tables we had ( Matt got them for free in Korea) and she spend about 45 minutes trying to cram them in her Maxima. That was fun. A few days ago a lady bought something for $25 and paid me $10 in bills and $15 in dimes and quarters. Really people, I couldn't make this up. And finally, last night a guy emailed me 2 times to buy an old carseat. I got home around 11pm and emailed him to let him know when he could come get the seat. This morning I woke up to another email stating he called last night and got no answer. What? I checked my cell and he sure did. Who calls a random stranger at 11pm to talk about picking up a car seat? I guess he figured I was awake because I had just emailed but still. He must really really want this seat.
Don't worry mom, Matt is almost always home when the buyers show up and I have the item right by the front door so the person is never invited in to my house.
I have a few more big items that I plan to get rid of on the old list in the next few weeks. We'll see what Craig will drag in.

May 22, 2009

Kyran

November 7th 2003 a 101st Airborne Blackhawk helicopter was brought down by enemy fire over Tikrit. Among the 6 soldiers killed in the crash was B. CO 5/101st soldier Kyran E. Kennedy. Kyran was one of those guys that everyone liked and respected. He was a family man, a farmer, hunter, wood-worker and much more. He was a positive influence on those around him. He made quite an impression on Matt, and so many of his fellow pilots. He was truly a great man.
As Memorial day nears, I think about Kyran and other lives lost on November 7th, and throughout our Nation's history. I pray that the families of our fallen Lancers are doing well, and I thank these soldiers for their sacrifice.
Yesterday was my friend Katie's 33rd birthday. Instead of spending the evening with friends and family celebrating . . . she was in the hospital delivering her second baby! The baby arrived at 22:46 last night, almost missing his mom's birthday! He is a healthy little guy weighing in at 6lbs 12 ounces and he is named Kyran S. Fuller, a living tribute to the man who gave his life for our country just over 5 years ago.

May 20, 2009

What's Up?

If I type it in English instead of German I won't get confused about what my topic is. So this is what we have been up to.
The end of April I took a mom's weekend off and headed to the hills with some girlfriends. We took back roads from Fairfax, VA to Berkeley Springs, WV. That's right, I said West Virginia. Who would have thought? On our way to Berkeley Springs we stopped off at an auction. Seriously, side of the road, fast talker, accidentally bidding while swatting at flies auction. We were planning to just stop in and see what it was all about but we got sucked in and couldn't leave without a trunk full of stuff. No kidding. My favorite item was this fabulous suitcase.
After our bidding and people watching we headed to Harper's Ferry for a bit, to Shepherdstown for lunch and finally made our way to Berkeley Springs. We stayed outside of town at a place called Cacapon State Park. It is really a fabulous place! We woke up Sunday morning and went sloshwalking. It was the girls' first time. Initially they were questioning my suggestion that we walk in the creek with our shoes on, but the heat of the day and beauty of the water sucked them in. They loved it! I have a feeling the next time they see a clear, shallow creek, they may not be able to stop themselves from jumping in.
On our way back home we stopped by Antietam National Battlefield and Cemetery, some random discount store in MD, and then finished our journey with dinner, a movie and some good old Ben and Jerry's ice cream. Mmm. It was a really great trip and I'm so blessed to have such great friends and have these memories of our adventure together.
The following weekend Matt went down to Richmond for the race, and the weekend after that the boys and I went down to Virginia Beach to enjoy the sun, sand, the beauty of the ocean. We saw a million (maybe 100) dolphins, rode this crazy family "bike" on the beach, played in the water, and had a really great time.
Deep breath in. Whew. This past weekend we took Eli to his t-ball game, Gabe to his soccer game, headed to Andrews AFB for an airshow, and then finished off the weekend by hosting the fam for a BBQ at our house.
We've been pretty busy. Memorial Day weekend will bring more t-ball and soccer, a bbq with friends a reggae concert with Matt's aunt Tina, Gabe and Zuleika, and who knows what else we will fit in!
I'll be loading more pictures to my shutterfly site soon.

May 18, 2009

Was ist los?

My friend Rachael declared that I was neglecting my blog and suggested that I come home and write something.
I raced home and plopped down in front of the computer to type something profound. Not really, I came home and the sight of the laundry on the couch and dirty carpet made me sick to my stomach. The best cure for that is to sit at my computer with my back to the laundry and dirty carpet only in my peripheral.
However, Rachael's observation does cause me concern. As a blog reader myself, I know that it gets slightly frustrating when I check in on my favorite blogs and there is nothing new to read or see. So, here I am typing something, anything with the hope of keeping my readers engaged and coming back.
I titled this post "Was ist los" which means "What is going on?" in German. My plan was to give everyone an update on what we are up to. However, when I read "was ist los?" I would guess it means "what is lost?" and so I think I'm going to write about that instead.
So, what is lost?
My neighbor. Not just any neighbor but my neighbor/friend/kindred spirit Rachael. She lives a stone's throw from my house - if I had a good arm. I could be at her house in 30 seconds without running. There are so many times that I needed an egg, an apple, an onion, superglue, a car (I realized my car battery was dead 15 minutes before Eli needed to be picked up from school) and much more and within minutes I was at Rachael's to retrieve the item. We see each other walking in the neighborhood, at the pool, and we pass each other as we are driving in or out. We pick up things for each other at the store and we swing by with random acts of coffee or other great treats. We can be there for each other right when we need to be. There are so many opportunities to be together or do something for each other when distance- of any amount is not a factor. We are so blessed.
I guess technically Rachael isn't lost, but the special circumstances of the location of our houses is lost. In short, we are both moving.
What is lost is a unique moment in time where great friends have the opportunity to share so much more of their lives, because they live so close. My friendship with Rachael isn't lost. No way, we are lifers but this time is quickly fading.