Too Old Glory
I was driving through the mountains of Vermont today and passed a barn that was flying a tattered flag similar to the one in the photo to your left. Up to that point, I'd been having a pleasant conversation with Sgt S. When we passed that flag, we both got quiet and angry for a moment.

It's one thing when you have a picture of devastation like the aftermath of Katrina or 9/11 and you see a flag still flying proudly and that flag happens to be pretty torn. That is a testament and symbolism of America's enduring spirit. But when a flag becomes tattered and worn from lack of attention, that's just flat out disrespectful and it's better you just didn't fly a flag, rather than fly one that you can't maintain. I came across a website today that actually has a "reporting" page, along with plenty of links that cover things like flag etiquette and flag maintenance.

What's the problem these days? Was last generation's youth not taught proper respect for "Old Glory"? How did we get to this? What do you feel/do when you drive past a tattered flag?
What a difference a year makes


I realized last night as I was taking pictures of the kids in our beloved brown chair that much time had passed since I had done that. Approximately one year I later discovered. So much has happened in this last year. In so many ways it has flown by, but when I really think about all that went on in our lives I realized that we packed it to bursting with memories. It has not been a perfect year but a year of plenty more good than bad. I won't bore you with a list of what our little lives have held, but let me say this: We had fun, I have no regrets, and we got it done.
Life is good here in our house, there's tons of love, lots of laughs, plenty of safety to be yourself, and you can even be a little crazy. Just ask Eve.
Of Sledding
Eve and Judah went sledding for the first time today. I know- we've lived here for 3 years and we've just gone sledding! Eve had a blast- she is usually pretty hesitant about such things but not today. She hopped on that orange sled and flew down the hill.

Judah not so much. He cried the whole way down. I am glad we are able to have a picture of his initial response to sledding, I just know someday...he'll cry the whole way home when we have to leave.

I never would have thought...
I wouldn't be able to grant such a simple request: "Momma, could you give me a push please?"

So sweet yet so impossible.

July 2006
Snow Play
It is finally a bit milder outside, for awhile there I thought it was never going to get above zero! The kids have been desperate to go outside. The other day I heard Judah crying so I went to investigate what all the noise was about. I found him on top of a laundry basket pushed up to the big window in the living room. He was banging on the window and crying because he wanted to be outside. I felt terrible because I had to say no; it was one of those days that is so cold your heat basically never shuts off. The gas company really likes those days. My children do not.

Today it is gorgeous out! I bundled the kids up, got the sled out and off we went to enjoy the beautiful day. **That sounded really nice didn't it? actuality I spent 20 minutes dressing everyone then fixing mittens that had fallen off, fixing boots, stepping in melted snow, changing wet socks, listening to an impatient 1 year old scream etc. It wasn't pretty but, once we were outside we had so much fun! The sun was gloriously bright, and the snow is perfect for the kids to climb all over.

Judah was SO happy. He could hardly contain his excitement. Here he is attacking the snow, complete with growls.

This is his "I'm so excited I can't even stand it!" face. He looks like a chipmunk to me!

Eve had lots of fun making slides out of the mountains of snow piled up.

Too soon the boots started to fill up with snow, mittens started to fall off of hands and it was time to go inside. It was a blast, but Spring can't come quickly enough for me. Bring on the mud!

A good-ish Sale but really good friends
We have stores here called Plato's closet and Once upon a Child; they are franchised, we had one in Fargo, North Dakota so the chances are pretty good you have one too. We totally love these stores! They carry previously owned clothing, toys, books etc. I often find myself browsing at one or both on Sunday afternoons while Daniel watches the kids for a few hours. I can shop and come away with a lot or sometimes just a little but with never spending much money at all. I am nothing if not thrifty and I find it very therapeutic, I am quite sure a lot of you can understand that feeling.

Today they were having a bag sale with the rest of the store(s) being 15% off. Our friend Tarrah came down and we switched watching kids. She watched my kids while Daniel and I shopped, then we came back and watched her kids while she shopped. It worked great! Daniel and I had fun- he totally scored (clothing-wise people!) while I got a couple things for summer. We found some cute summer stuff for the kids too. Way too many women in way too small a space though.

When it was our turn to be home with the kids I had a golden opportunity to take a tremendous amount of pictures. All three were totally distracted by watching Horton Hears a Who so I was able to get mostly non-action shots, if you know what I mean (all you parents totally get that!). Eve and Abriella are such cute best friends, very loving towards each other. I was able to capture that and it was thrilling.

Tarrah and Abe hung out with us for awhile this afternoon after shopping and we had a blast making Abe smile. We took some amazing pictures of him, he's incredibly cute so it wasn't hard at all. We had a lot of fun and are very thankful for such good friends to hang out with on a cold Saturday afternoon.

Mock Bach
They say you need to start somewhere, so why not an alligator piano?

A family motto
Tell me- how many of you have a personal or family motto? I had never considered it until I heard it mentioned on the radio the other day, and I heard it mentioned in another forum tonight. The more I thought about it the more I started to dig it. Easy and fun, yet defining. Here's the one I heard tonight: "X's" don't quit, or the one I heard on the radio: It's fun to be a "X", another one we just remembered hearing recently was: "X's" stick together. I like this idea. A lot. I think it could help give our kids something to identify themselves with, reminding them that we are united as a family. Daniel and I have had more than a few laughs trying to come up with our own motto- we've got a few swirling around in our heads. We'll nail one down soon. So, now that you've read this, have you realized that you have a motto and didn't even know it?
Define Sport
We (co-workers and I) seem to have this conversation every couple of months. What defines a sport. Sgt K thinks NASCAR is a sport. I don't. I think physical exertion should be prerequisite. Yeah, I know, the drivers are pretty fatigued after the race. But they are exerting all the effort. If someone beats me up for three hours I'd be fatigued too. That doesn't mean that I was putting forth effort. If you take out the physical exertion, then all kinds of stuff could be considered sport. Like chess, and golf, and darts. Those are skill games, not sports.
Sports are the only reason I miss T.V. Football is over and March Madness is starting up. I do wish that I could watch a few games. But the benefits of not having cable still far outweigh a few missed games.
She's still "Cindy -Lou-Who"

I am up to my elbows in bright orange gloves and soap bubbles at the kitchen sink when I hear: "Hey Momma!" she sweeps by me sporting kitty pajamas, shiny red rain boots, and a black and white spotted cow coat, "I'm going on a ta-tation!" (vacation) she declares over her shoulder, "Have fun doing the dishes!"

Oh, the sass! And from one so little! It's going to be a long 18 years.
Judah - the Artist

His little face lit up when he realized I was going to let him draw like Eve. His fingers lightly held the crayon in near wonderment; then the reality of it all started to sink in and the first mark was made. Using two crayons at a time was way too much fun, eliciting little chuckles. A whole piece of paper to himself! No more need to stand at the edge of the table with a longing to be like Eve.

The fun ended with a mouthful of crayon, it was the perfect ending to the beginning of a lifetime of drawing.
Paying bills
Does it make me weird because I enjoy paying bills? To clarify, I don't actually like giving other people Daniel's hard-earned money but they did provide a service and I will pay for it. I find a certain measure of happiness in being able to sit down and pay all of our bills. I look forward to it. I like knowing that when I am done, whatever money is left after the bills, putting money into our savings account, tithing, and charitable giving - is ours. To do with what we want. No obligations on how to spend it.

We live simply but not restrictively. I have never wanted to be rich; the military doesn't make you rich, but I am satisfied. So, I sat at my desk today, paid our bills and wondered if it was weird for me to feel happy.
Good Neighbors
We have really nice neighbors here on our quiet little street. Mostly older and retired folks. Although it took awhile to really get to know them it has been well worth all the effort. Native "Vermontas" can be very guarded. They often come across as standoff-ish and occasionally downright cold. But, once they warm up to you they are some of the nicest people around. There's something about New Englanders. We still haven't quite figured them out even after living here for three years.

Yesterday morning our neighbors across the street called to offer Daniel the use of their snowblower. It was a much welcomed offer that we quickly accepted. Daniel spent a few hours finding half the driveway and two cars. Without the snowblower it would have been much longer! When our neighbors offer help like this it almost feels as if we are back in a military community. Everyone has your back. We have missed that.

So, to thank our neighbors, Eve and I made chocolate chip cookies for them. These cookies are favorites here in our neighborhood and I knew they would be just the thing to express our gratitude.

But beyond gratitude, getting a picture this great makes the effort all worthwhile!

Grandma Chips
I took an inordinate amount of pictures last weekend. For some reason time felt fragile and fleeting. Will they remember her? She's young yet- only seventy, but they are so little. When Judah kissed her my heart melted. He adores her. Like I adore her. But he's so little. So, I took pictures, I was like a crazy paparazzi woman. Maybe my pictures will someday have to tell a story that time wouldn't allow words to express. Yet, time may. I took them anyways. I would hate to miss a moment in their discovery of this amazing woman. Oh, to be like her.

Hey! It snowed!
Not quite the amount of snow that Upstate New York received, but there's a LOT of snow out there!

Daniel has been keeping quite busy helping our neighbors dig themselves out. We love it when it snows like this!
What am I?
A glass of white zinfandel- good guesses everyone!

A few days ago I wrote a post on being a Recruiter's wife, the post expressed some negative aspects but also detailed some positive aspects. What I had neglected to add is that every tour is unique. Recruiters have different experiences based on location, population, political climate, even their own personality plays a role. For us, a new baby, a deployment and an extremely liberal state played major roles in our experience.

I tried to express that good things came from this tour; as the saying goes "Every place is what you make it" and for us, Vermont will be missed. So, although there may be negatives, look for the positives in your experiences and enjoy the adventure.
Our little China doll
My parents recently went on trip to China and they brought back beautiful gifts for us. This parasol was what they gave to Eve. She twirled it as if she had been twirling parasols all her life.

I'm gonna get you sucka
Last night
The ball was great! The food was really good- it was catered by The New England Culinary Institute, and the room was decorated beautifully by the cadets.

It was a different perspective for us being at the head table, being in the receiving line, and having Daniel give the speech. The speech was very good- the emphasis being on maturity and personal responsibility. The kids ate it up because he kept it at their level. The "dancing" afterwards left much to be desired. Actually, I don't think I saw anyone dancing! We left and went to a nice restaurant, had a drink and decompressed.

All in all, I was very proud of Daniel; it was a great opportunity, lots of fun, and he represented the Air Force well.

Daniel said we'll post more pictures from the evening when we get them.
Going to the Ball
Daniel was asked by the Junior ROTC at the local high school a few months ago to be the keynote speaker for their MilBall. It is a true honor for him as the cadets actually chose him. So, tonight we will get all dressed up and attend. I am a little nervous since I have nearly forgotten all the customs and procedures of a military ball. The last one we attended was pre-Eve in North Dakota. They held it, appropriately, in a hockey rink because you know, it's not cold enough already in that state.

We are all anticipating tonight. Daniel is really looking forward to giving his speech. Eve is looking forward to Mi-Mi (grandma) visiting. Judah, throw him some food and he's golden. As for me, the best part of it all is the new shoes.
She's got new shoe radar!
A construction worker perhaps?

Things I hear in public schools
-"I can do math in Spanish"

-"I'm 5' 11" and a half, almost 5' 12""

-"I don't like loud noise" (kid who was wearing a MegaDeath sweatshirt over a Metallica T-shirt)

-"Do you have any candy for us?"

-(written a survey asking about future plans) "go to culage"

more to come. . .
Because they make eating so much fun
I have been buying Eve these Hefty Zoo Pals plates for a long time now.

They are so hilarious and you just never know what mixture of animals you are going to come home with.

Eve has a blast picking the pack out at the store; we line up all the different packages they have and she gets to decide which ones to buy. The fun continues at home where she picks out her plate before each meal. It really is the little things with kids; the money spent is minor when I think of the laughs we have had,

the fun conversations that have come from a plate of an animal she didn't recognize- like the peacock, and Eve's sense of having something that is special just for her. Besides, they are a ton of fun to eat off! Syrup for pancakes always go in the ears, and vegetables fit just perfect in there too.

Judah is starting to get in on the act now as well!

I have bought the plastic ware that matches the plates and I have also seen the cups and bowls too. It seems to me that a mixture of the Zoo Pals line would be a great gift for a toddler, relatively inexpensive and the fun is spread out over a long period of time.
On being a Recruiter's wife
Unfortunately, I had no idea what I was walking into when we received this job. I had to stop and think for a minute as I wrote that last statement. Was it truly unfortunate? I surmised that indeed, it was. There is warning for the potential recruiter, but no one warns the wife. Regardless, Daniel and I knew this job was going to be hard, but we can do hard, we thought. We weren't afraid of hard. What we didn't know was that this job was going to reduce us to human beings barely able to limp along.

Everybody knows that Recruiters have a really tough job. Those who are on the inside really, really understand; but those that know the best are the ones who nobody sees. Me, or possibly you. The wife of a Recruiter. We are left holding the man who has been beaten up, ripped apart, told he's less than no good. We feel his feelings. Beaten up and ripped apart, yet holding an enormous amount of fierce protectiveness towards the one who we know is good enough. Plus, our own state of mind- exhaustion, fear, anger, disgust... the list goes on.

So many times I have felt like I just wanted to run away. Coward, you say. No, I stayed. I stayed and I prayed, for relief, for a break, sometimes for a miracle. I never left, not even in my mind. This man I married needed me and I needed him. I was the one who would whisper to him " You are amazing, you can do this!", " We're almost there, just a little bit more time". And he is the one who would hold me as I cried.

We see what nobody else sees or cares about. Children crying for their father, the thousand dinners eaten alone, the telephone that embodies everything anti-family, the sadness on the face of Daniel because he misses so much.

Is it all bad? No, not all bad. I have grown more through this than any time prior in my life. I think back and would still choose to walk this road. I am here because I needed to be here. These circumstances were exactly right for what needed to be accomplished in my life. I am so much better for it.

I also developed deep trust in Daniel. I trusted him before this time but it had never been tried. What I discovered is that he truly is a man of character; unwilling to compromise. He doesn't lie, he doesn't cheat, and he is full of integrity.

Our marriage has survived, dare I say, even thrived; and when it comes our family, I have seen his heart. I see that he comes home to us every night. I have seen the sacrifice it takes to say no to his own desires for his family's greater good.

As for my husband, he has evolved into a determined man able to handle himself in any situation. Bold, charismatic, well-spoken. Taking no for an answer? Absolutely not! There is always a way to get what you want. A smile here, a growl there. He knows just what to do.

I come out of this tired and needing a serious vacation, yet so strong. I'm able to say how proud I am to be a Recruiter's wife. There is victory even for me.
Our Saturday night included

travel via airplane rides

and by train



and Fine Dining
Our decision
**Update: It 's here! I decided it is a little like marriage, I am so in love but I don't know what the heck I'm doing!**

The Canon Rebel XT. It will be on our doorstep today and we can't wait!

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