Wordless Wednesday with a Twist: Self-Portrait

This weeks theme for Wordless Wednesday with a Twist is "Self-Portrait." Oh, the joy.
I haven't been able to participate in this fun Wednesday activity because of moving and the implosion of my life therof. But, today, there was no excuse.
Either I am really brave or really stupid, because I took these pictures first thing in the morning. Just rolling out of bed. The sunset ones didn't pan out, much to my chagrin.
Oh, and the cherry on the cake.... no Photoshop. It's on my other computer. And the hits just keep on coming... Enjoy!!

I really am this happy in the mornings... But only if I wake up after 8.

And now for the ones that didn't make the cut...

twenty-thousand pictures of my hair

the many pictures of my camera

and "the one that got too close"

If you want to join in today or even in the future go over and check out Rachel's blog!

The Two-story Won....
We went and did our housing walk through today. It went very well. Eve wanted to look at the "one with the stairs" first, so we did. I really liked it. It felt homey. Well, as homey as an echo-y, empty, white-walled home could feel. But, most importantly, I could see myself living there.

We went and looked at the one-story house next. It hadn't been seen by maintenance yet so it was kind of dirty. That probably had a part to play in our choice, even though we tried to be objective about it. I liked that house as well - the layout was pretty good. The big problem I had with that house was there was no carpet in any of the rooms. That would have been an added expense - not horrible, but it was a factor. I did like the master bedroom better - it was bigger - and since we have a king size bed, a bigger room is good. But it wasn't enough to sway us. Sorry cute one-floor with the nice tree out front!

After much contemplation and measuring out rooms, envisioning our belongings in them, we decided the two-story would fit us better. Besides, I loved the rose bushes.

It's so nice to have a house. I just wish we could actually live there. But, alas, we cannot. Yet, anyways. Our household goods won't be delivered until Monday. As in a week from today.

Did anyone hear my long-suffering sigh?

I am so ready to have a home. I need my routine, the kids need stability, I want something that is my own. I'm kind of tired of the gypsy type lifestyle.

But, you know what I am thankful for?..... A roof over my head, a bed to sleep on, a stove to cook with, my family being cared for by the Air Force, and New Mexico.
I am thankful to be here - to have adventure in my life. To not be bored, and have life be predictable. Yes, I am thankful indeed.

And in a week... I'll be humming away, with steam coming off my brain, as I try and figure out just how in the world I am going to get everything we own into this home. Because it ain't going to be easy, my friends. Nope, not easy at all. There will be much creativity involved in that project. And a whole bunch of stuff sitting out on the curb waiting for a new home.
Come, walk with me....
Wow! It's Sunday again! How did that happen? I kept having to ask Tarrah, all week long, what day it was when I was talking to her. It was totally ridiculous!

Want to walk with me again? It might be a little boring this week - I have no pictures because I don't have my normal camera resources. Plus, I'm feeling a bit uninspired. Sorry, my friends.

Monday, Monday... Let me see if I can remember Monday. I know - I went into the city and visited the health food store. It was FUN! I found these delicious rice cakes

I love the Mother's brand cereal - the peanut butter bumpers are my favorite but I like the graham bumpers a lot too. What I actually went there to buy was our zinc and probiotic along with some easy snacks for the airplane ride.
The kids did good in the store- Judah didn't grab anything from the shelves while he was in the cart, which is highly unusual! I bought some big oatmeal raisin cookies that were fruit juice sweetened and made with whole wheat flour, so those along with a fruit leather was the kids lunch. They loved it - it was fun to do something special like that!
Did I mention that Monday was super hot? Wow - I nearly fried my tush off every time I got in the car that day!
The kids had a great day - we rode on the horsey swings - the very same ones I played on as a little girl. We visited the apartment Daniel lived in when he and I first met. And wandered around the Bible college I grew up next to.
Later that evening we went over to a family friend's house, my mom occasionally works for this woman in her custom curtain making business. She does incredible work! Anyways, she generously let me look through her leftover fabric - Oh, the gorgeousness abounded! It was so fun to pick out the fabric for curtains in my new house. I am thankful for a mother who knows how to sew beautifully, and for thoughtful friends!

Tuesday was such a freakin' long day. By the time I collapsed into bed I felt like I had been awake forever. I was exhausted! It was full of packing, chasing after children, cleaning, running last minute errands... ugg! I was done in. I knew I was going to have to be up at 0'dark-thirty the next morning and that was such a thrilling thought. But, I survived, and thankfully I got most everything I needed to have done that day so I didn't have much to do the next morning. My mom was a HUGE help!

Wednesday... that day dawned much too early for my liking! I am NOT a morning person. I'm not really a night person either, come to think of it. I'm more of a late morning/early afternoon person, but all of this is besides the point. I scraped the kids out of bed, mom fed them pancakes, I dressed them, and off we went to the airport! They were sooo excited to "move to Pizza" and to see Daddy. I was feeling quite sad and nervous about all I knew was coming. Oh, to be a child again and feel only excitement! To not know.
Well, you all know that the plane ride went well, we arrived in Albuquerque just fine and had a fun time hanging out with Daniel that night.
We even had entertainment! There were four baby bunnies that hung out by our TLF house - they were so stinkin' cute! They would chase each other around the yard a million miles an hour, nipping at each other, rolling around, jumping up in the air - the kids had a BLAST watching them! We all laughed our heads off at their antics. It was great to just be. You know?

Thursday is better known as "the day of shopping." We went to Target for summer clothes, and shoes, Costco for supplies - you know the stuff I have been using to keep our life going for four years, and then to Whole Foods because I needed stock up on the basics. We arrived in our new hometown about 6 o'clock that evening. It was somewhat surreal - I felt like I was living someone else's life. It was weird. Really weird. I couldn't believe that I was actually in a totally different part of the country - two hours behind my "normal" time - and I was going to live there. Like for years. And it only seemed to get harder to believe as the night progressed, to be perfectly honest. Thankfully, I adjust quickly. I hate change but once I adjust, I'm good.

Friday was spent looking at a gazillion houses - it was hot, seven people were squished in our van, Judah and Eve were miserable because they weren't at the playground, and I had a headache. It was a carnival ride. But, by that afternoon we had in our hands a list of houses to choose from, so it was good. We ended the day with ice cream - extra good! I dropped into bed at 9:30... unbelievable! I am more of a 11:30 or 12 kind of girl.

Saturday -we've been over this already. I forgot Eve's birthday. Yeah, smooth move, huh. Oh well, I got over it. I tried to make the day as special as I could. Daniel and I took Eve into town for some birthday balloons, and cake supplies. She had asked for coconut cake so I needed to pick up a few things. We went to Lowe's to find a birthday rose bush, but there was none that suited her fancy. She wanted a red one, but there were no mini-rose bushes in red. We were bummed!
Back at TLF "Gi-Gi" - my dad - took the kids to the playground while I made the cake and my mom made dinner. Eve asked for "Bubble and Squeak." Brownie points for anyone who knows what that meal is!! The funny part is that Eve calls it "bubble and screamin'." That girl cracks me up! Yummy food, yummy cake! It was a good night.
Eve kept asking us all day long if she was "really five" if she was still going to be five tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day.... It was cute. I think it was because we celebrated her birthday so many times that she needed to know it was real this time.

Today... was COLD!! It only got into the 50's! Can you believe it? Church was good - they had a really nice room for mother's and babies, and their child care was incredible. We enjoyed it. I think we'll go back next week, we'll see.
This afternoon was terrifically relaxing. We needed that. Daniel and I had some time alone.... while washing and vacuuming out the van. Hey, at this point in our lives, we'll take whatever we can get! Later the kids played at the playground, discovered some Dove bird eggs in a nest (Eve wanted to eat them! She thought they were the eating kind!) and generally had fun. I am loving that they are adjusting so well. Eve did cry for a couple of minutes today, saying she missed our red house. I told her I did too. It was hard to see her sad. She was fine within 10 minutes. If only I could be the same way.
Unfortunately I discovered, after dinner, that I have turned into a crazy woman! I am totally out of control. I am not even understanding myself. I saw a couple walk by, heading to the laundry building. They were our age, the woman was pregnant. I had seen them earlier but didn't have a chance to talk with them. So, what did I do? I grabbed some of the laundry I had been meaning to wash all day, and headed over to the laundry building.

I know!! I am a crazy woman!

I needed to know if they were coming (prospective friend) or going (give me information about this place, please!!).

I found out that they had just arrived, from Yokota AFB, Japan. Whew! What a change this is for them. Almost as bad as the people I took cut-up fruit to last night - they had just arrived from Mildenhall AFB, England.
Anyways, I feel almost desperate for the camaraderie that comes with being a military wife, but I am also feeling a little lost. I don't have any friends here. No one to share life with. I don't know a soul! But, here is where the crazy part comes in... I feel mad when I think about having to make new friends. Because I had perfectly wonderful friends in Vermont. I don't want new friends! I want my old friends back.

So, now you know my deep, dark secret. I'm a confused, mad, desperate, friendless woman.

Crap! Probably YOU won't want to be my friend now! Please, be my friend still. Usually I am very good at keeping the crazy in check.

All that being said, I think I am seeing a need that I can meet. TLF can be a hard spot to be in. Especially when you are just coming in from overseas, and even when it is a state-side move. You know no one, you're tired, probably sad, and most likely hungry. I've got thoughts and ideas swishing around in my brain about a hot, homemade meal brought to newcomers.... We'll see. I haven't really let my mind be thorough in the thought process yet. But what do you think? A good idea, or not so much?

Well, thanks for walking with me again. Next week? Same time, same place?
And the house hunt continues.... sort of
Normally military housing works like this:

There are a few options- you can either live in base housing, you can live off base in a personally purchased home, or you can rent.

You and your husband can walk into the housing office on base where the lady either says "Here are two sets of keys to two different houses, bring back one." or " Sorry, there is no base housing available right now. We can put your name on the base housing list, the wait will be such and such long. Here is a list of the housing options off base"

At Grand Forks AFB we walked into the housing office, already knowing that we wanted to live on base, got our two sets of keys, checked out the "house" and brought back one set. In Alaska Daniel had secured us an apartment off base because base housing had a year wait. In Vermont it was a miracle how we found our house - there was no resources for us to use, we were on our own. Yikes!

Here at Cannon there is a lot of housing available - especially the four bedroom homes that we qualify for. It has been a much different experience than any other place we have lived - the choices abound. We still have the two homes to pick from, but there are three different housing areas in three very different areas to consider. And in each area, there are multiple houses to look at. I am so incredibly thankful to be in this situation!

Today we narrowed the housing options down to two houses, both in the same housing area. One of the houses is a single level - which is what we had in Vermont and really liked, the other a two-story.

The single level has a playground, basically in the backyard it's that close. To say that would be convenient would be an understatement. But, at the same time, I don't know if I want a playground in my backyard - it might get a little noisy.

The two-story is close to the playground as well, like a 30 second walk away. There is a sidewalk that runs through and separates the backyard areas. This house seems to be on a quieter street, but the driveway slopes - not good for ball play.

The single story has a really nice tree that we could hang the swings and rings from. But that is the only tree - there aren't any others. The two-story has a few trees - none of which we could hang swings on , but the shade is nice and there are a ton of rose bushes already well established. ( I LOVE roses!)

As for the insides... I won't know about that until Monday when we get the keys and do our walk throughs. We do have the floor plans so we know the single story is 24 feet bigger (whoo-hoo!) but without the powder room. And they are both the same color. No better or worse there.

Anyways, I have officially talked your ears - or should I say eyes?- off. Monday we will choose and Wednesday, hopefully, we will move-in. I'll keep you updated, as if you are interested!
In Response....
To my BFF, Kristi, of "Seeking Adventure" who left a terrifying comment two posts down.... Ummm, a SCORPION in your closet? That's just not right. I would lose my mind. I can not even entertain the thought.

Oh Lord.... please, please, please never let that happen to me. I would like to live out my days peacefully, and die a natural death. Not one from fright. Amen.
And then I forgot my daughter's birthday....
What kind of mother am I?

It's been a little bit busy, but seriously, there's no excuse for that!

Ugg!! I feel like the worst mother in the world.

AND.... her present is still with our household goods, which is in storage.

It will be memorable at least. Her fifth birthday will be known as "the one Mama forgot."

**As for pictures.... I have to upload the software for my camera onto this laptop. Then, I will promptly overload you with pictures. I guess I'd better get snapping! I've been so stinkin' busy with LIFE that other things, like pictures, are getting pushed to the side.
We're Not in Vermont Anymore, Toto....
So, I loved Albuquerque.... I think I left my lips there though. They pretty much dried up and fell off my face at some point between yesterday afternoon and this morning. Oh, but my sinuses are still here. There no denying them... they are on fire!

You know, I think I will be happy here at Cannon. It's very different. There seems to be a lot of poverty in the surrounding areas, which is sad. And yes, it's WAY brown. But the people here make up for it in friendliness, and they like color. Bright colors! Like me! I saw a pink house... it rocked. And while I would never paint my house pink, I can appreciate the love of color. Even the overpasses have a beautiful bright blue stripe on them.

Okay, on to what you really want to read about...The plane ride.

I know you all want to know how it went. I have good news to report! Amazingly enough the kids did awesome! Eliza never fussed, not even once. Judah had a minor melt down between St. Louis and Albuquerque, but it was way past naptime and the poor kid was completely toasted. And so over the whole seat belt thing. He finally fell asleep. Thank the Lord! Eve did incredible - no complaining from her. She was completely enthralled with riding on a plane - landing was her favorite part. I can't believe they didn't get sick - we went through a whole lot of turbulence. Throw up I do not do. Blood, yes. Vomit, no.

The hardest part was the check-in at the gate. I needed about four more pairs of eyes, and twelve more hands.( I sure would look funny like that!) It would have also helped if I hadn't had a grumpy Southwest Airlines employee checking us in. But I digress.

We spent last night at Kirtland AFB in TLF (temporary living facility). Daniel and I took a long walk in the beautiful night air, talking each other's ear off. We walked around the parade grounds on the track until we met the overachieving sprinklers. Then we ran. And stopped. And ran again.

I might have screamed a few times. Might have.

We got wet. But we laughed and did it again. Because it was fun. And it made me remember being young and newly married, and having a blast together. The carefree part of life seems to be somewhat sparse these days, with the whole kid thing, and you know, huge life changes.

Today was spent at Target ( Oh, how I love you. Come to Clovis, please! Say what?! You need more then twelve people to shop at your store? Awww, shucks.),Costco, and the Whole Foods Market. Three of my favorite stores in the world.

Tomorrow we pick out our new house. Pray for us please. I am feeling a ton of self-induced pressure. Silly me. We have such an amazing amount of choice that it's overwhelming. I am feeling as if I must pick THE right house. But, like Daniel said to me tonight: it all boils down to a bed to sleep on, a roof over our heads, and our family being together. He's so right. He always is.

Kind of makes me mad, but again, I digress.

One more night of being homeless... I guess that means after tomorrow I'll have to start doing dishes again. Bummer.
Today is Plane Day
Today is the day. Me, my mom, and my small, smaller, and smallest "chickadees" will be on a big plane headed west and then south. For five hours.

Lord have mercy.

I am armed with enough snacks to feed a small army, two new movies, four new ponies and their respective riders, a magnet board, a magnet book, drawing supplies, and a pillow.

I have no idea what the kids are going to do on the plane..... ha! I jest.

I am so nervous, but not about the plane ride. It will be fine. I am nervous about this new life I am embarking on. Will I like it there? Will anyone want to be my friend? Will I find someone to hang out with that likes it there? Will I find all the stuff I need to make a good life for my family? Am I going to melt from the heat? Am I going to be bitten by a rattlesnake while out hiking? Does UPS deliver way out there? Will people think bad of me because I haven't lost all the pregnancy weight? Blah, blah blah....

Fine, so everything I am thinking may not be rational, but still... Can you tell I'm nervous. I tend to overanalyze when I am.

There's no turning back now.... My feet are hitting the floor as soon as I hit publish. Unless I fall back asleep. But then my mom would probably kick my butt so hard I'd end up down there anyways.

Good-bye life I know so well..... Hello unknown! Wanna be friends?

George - an Update
It is my sincere pleasure to inform you that George..... is ALIVE!

I know you all were waiting with bated breath.

That stubborn 'ol betta fish made it to New Mexico in good health.

Oh yeah, and so did my HUSBAND and my FATHER.

But that's beside the point......
Come, walk with me

Daniel and I love to take walks together. We always have, and I am sure we always will. It's where we get our best talking done.
I have been loving how a few of the other blogs I read have a weekly wrap up. I want to have that time here on my blog too, so here we go.....

Come walk with me, won't you?

Wow, it's been quite the week!

We left Vermont Saturday night at 10pm. It was so hard to say good-bye to our best friends, Sam and Tarrah. When do you find friends where the husbands are best friends and the wives are best friends? It's not all that often. I am afraid that the distance won't be kind. But, I am determined. I am nothing if not a loyal friend, so I will make the effort needed to stay close.

I have never been so tired as I was Saturday night, Okay, the night I labored with Eve definitely takes the cake but surely Saturday night was the runner-up. Daniel and I were completely toasted. We pulled over in the parking area of a closed gas station at a little after 11pm, we slept for an hour and half - we just couldn't drive another mile. It felt like we were asleep for only a minute! The sleep sure helped but that was one looooong night, I tell ya. We got to my grandparents house at 4:30 am Sunday and crashed til 9:30 am. We took it real easy that day - we enjoyed the peace and quiet their home afforded us. Oh, and watched golf. I don't even like golf. But I did that day!

Monday was good- we went to visit my great-grandparents in Syracuse, took the kids to the mall (where I was most definitely shown discrimination from a woman at Claire's because of a choice Daniel and I made. To say I was hopping mad would be an understatement), tried to ride the carousel, but it closed for lunch one minute before we got to it. Darn.
Of course we checked out H&M, because I love that store. We got the cutest hat for Eliza, another newsboy hat for Judah, and silver sandals for Eve. I got nothing. Darn, again.

Monday night my Grandma Chips made Eve strawberry shortcake for her birthday.

I am totally loving this multiple birthday party thing we've got going on here. My sweet tooth is very happy. After dinner we went on a walk; it was wonderful. Really, really wonderful.

Quiet, crisp, refreshing, and beautiful.

Tuesday was Daniel's last day as a recruiter. That was one happy boy who drove into Syracuse.

I am so incredibly proud of him. Truly. He left recruiting in Vermont with an excellent reputation amongst the parents, the teachers of the schools he went into, the recruiters he worked with, and his recruits. He, without a doubt, gave many of those young men and women a real chance at having a good life.
Quite a few came from somewhat desperate circumstances, some just needed a chance, others were well off, but all were given the opportunity to do great things and to be a part of something bigger than themselves. I am, and will always be, proud of the work Daniel did as a recruiter.
Tuesday afternoon we left Gram and Poppie's for my mom and dad's house. The kids are becoming great at riding in the car. But, I must say, I am deeply indebted to whoever came up with the idea to make DVD players for the car. Praise and halleluiah! We stopped at the park in Cazenovia (Caz - to those who are from around there) and took many, many pictures of the children freezing their cute booties off.

We also stopped at the mall again so the kids could ride the carousel - no shopping though. Boooring.

Eventually we got to mom and dad's. Just in time for dinner - do we have our timing down or what!

Wednesday Daniel and my Dad went off to work. They made some great strides in the masonry work on a chimney my Dad is building. Good, hard stone-work. Daniel was a happy boy! He was thrilled to be working with his hands - but besides, it was a beautiful day to be outside.
I went to the salon; Jason wielded his magic scissors and Lisa her magic color brush. Yay! It was so nice to have the opportunity to do that again before we head off to New Mexico.
The kids and I enjoyed the rest of the day - rest time, dinnertime, and outside time. It was a good day.

Thursday we spent with Daniel's parents. We rode the carousel at the mall here in town, had a picnic in the park, enjoyed a good dinner, and played at the park down by the lake. It was such a beautiful day. I completely enjoyed having the windows down on the van while we drove around - feeling the warm air whooshing through my hair is so wonderful. I was pretty stinkin' tired of freezing my butt off every.single.day. Much later that night Daniel and I did a midnight run to Wegmans and Walmart - it was a blast. I love hanging out with my husband - we laughed and yawned and groaned about how hungry we were. It was a good time together.

Friday was the sad day. Friday Daniel and my Dad left for New Mexico. "Bessie" the van needed to get herself down there, so Daniel volunteered to drive her. Nice guy. The sad part came when Daniel had to leave. I hate being without him. I'm just no good without my other half, you know? Amazingly I didn't cry. I always cry when he leaves, but this time I didn't. I don't even know why! We'll see him on Wednesday when we fly in. Yay!!
Daniel and Dad made it to Ohio that night. Wright-Patterson AFB to be exact. You just can't beat 37 dollars a night for a hotel room. The boys are having a blast together - they went bowling that night, Dad won 2 out of 3, but Daniel is determined to beat him yet. We'll see!
I took the kids to the park and we enjoyed the beautiful night. We stayed too long, but then we always do. They have so much fun, and I hate telling them it's time to go. But, no harm done. Dinner was just a little late, that's all.

Saturday.... it was hot! My body isn't use to the heat yet! It was a steller day weather-wise. Gorgeous, gorgeous sun! The kids played their little hearts out - I took them to a park in the town I grew up in. What a fun time we had! Judah LOVES to swing, which is mainly what he did. But, he did discover the slide and spent a whole lot of time on that. Then... he discovered the other slide. It was all over after that. "Ooooh Mama! This slide is super fast!" he said to me. I live for the smile that came with that statement. It lights up my life. The funniest part of the day was when Eve was telling me which arm was her left and which was her right.

"This is my right arm.... and this is my left?" she said to me.

I answered with "Right, honey" then I realized what I did.

"Wait! That's correct, I mean"

A very funny, confusing conversation.

Ok, it was funny to me.

By Saturday night Daniel and Dad had made it to Missouri - Fort Leanord-Wood. Bowled again. I didn't get the official score, but it didn't sound good for Daniel.... yet. He's got a couple more nights to redeem himself!

And that was our week. In a nutshell. Believe me, I could've gone on and on. But I like you, so I didn't. Will our Sunday walks always be this long? Yes ma'am. They will. Because I like to talk - alot.

A+ for honesty, right?!

Thanks for walking with me!!

Oh, and by the way, George is still alive. Just thought you'd like to know.
Ah, heck.... who needs sleep anyways?
Eve asked for chocolate cake with chocolate frosting for her birthday party. About 5 months prior to the actual event. Because that's how my girl is. I knew that it would mean a sleepless night but I couldn't deny her, it was her birthday party for goodness sake.

Tarrah, being the wonderful friend that she is, agreed to make the birthday cake when I asked her. I'm pretty sure she heard the desperation and "on the verge of losing my mind" in my voice. She's a true friend, I tell ya. Well, the cake was fantastic, a hit with all who ate it. But most especially with Judah; he loved that cake like nobody's business.

And no, he didn't sleep at all that night.

Here is the recipe for this delicious, moist, and egg-free chocolate cake. It's my favorite; there may be fancier, more involved cake recipes out there, but not one that is better. Many, many times I have mixed up this cake but didn't end up baking it because the batter is just that good. By the spoonfuls it disappeared. But don't tell anybody - it'll be our secret...ok?

Funny how I'm not actually embarrassed about that. I have no shame.

Chocolate Oil Cake

2 1/4 Cups flour
1 1/2 C sugar
1/2 C cocoa
3/4 t. salt
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 C oil
1 1/2 t. vinegar
1 1/2 C. water

Combine all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. In separate bowl combine wet. Mix wet into dry until well blended. Pour into greased and floured 9x13 pan, or 2-8" round pans, and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. (til toothpick comes out clean) Cool and frost as desired.
P.S.... Daniel found the cord
The visit was only for an hour, maybe a bit longer, but it was awesome. To see the happiness in my great-grandfather's face, to feel the strength and love in his hugs, to hear his blessing on Daniel and I.... it was an afternoon well spent. Eliza may have cried and carried on while in Grandaddy's arms, but with him being deaf.... he didn't hear a thing. He did his best to console her, eventually she calmed down and even talked to him a bit.
I don't know how long he will walk on this earth, or if this was the last time we will see him in this life; I tried to enjoy every moment we had with him. I am blessed to have him be my great-grandfather.

Is there anyone in your life you feel this way about? I love to hear about the incredible influences in other's lives. The people who have left a mark that can't be erased. Who is that for you?

This is one of my favorite pictures of Eve. We had thought it was magazine-worthy at the time, but never did know who to submit to.

As we were leaving Syracuse yesterday I asked Daniel if we could stop at the same park in beautiful Cazenovia, New York and take pictures. He, being the sweet husband he is, stopped and helped me corral the kids so I could get pictures in the same spot.

Ah, sentimental me.

Someday I will be able to show you those pictures, but right now I have no idea where the camera cord is. And that really bugs me. I have well over three-hundred pictures to download. Soon I'm going to start shaking from picture on the blog withdrawal! For now I will try to satisfy my need for pictures on the blog with old ones I can copy and paste.... Humor me, won't you?
I am the happiest girl. Seriously. Take a look at this:

Yup, a chocolate bar. MY chocolate bar. Do you know how stinkin' long it's been since I have been able to eat chocolate in this fashion? Actually I don't know either, but I do know it's been a LONG time. Pretty much every bar has refined sugar in it, and I choose not to eat that even as much as I love chocolate.

I had seen this brand of chocolate in my co-op book a few months ago. But, I am so untrusting, I needed to have the bar in my hand and be able to read the ingredients myself before I would buy it. Not to mention I would've had to buy like 12 of them from the co-op, and that is too much money to take a gamble on in my opinion.

Yesterday I was in Wegmans picking up a few things when I went by the chocolate section. I always stop and look because I am an insufferable optimist; my eyes spied this chocolate, I checked the ingredients, and determined it was MINE!

Then I tasted it. My life is complete. I am in love. It is incredible. I care about nothing else. Okay, that's a lie. But seriously, thank God for the internet because I will be buying this chocolate on a regular basis. A very regular basis.

Haven't I read somewhere that chocolate is good for me? Something about my heart's health, right?

Yeah, we'll go with that....

Daniel was all snazzed out in his blues this morning.... one last day wearing them as his everyday uniform. Tomorrow they will return to their normal use - special occasions.

Boy, there was no need for the sun to be out today, though it is. Shining as if it knows this is a special day! But, truly there was no need, for Daniel's smile was bright enough to light up the sky.

Off he drove in our "Bessie," for nearly an hours drive into northern Syracuse to the Recruiting Squadron. Phone in hand, smile on his face, dress blues and shiny shoes in place. This is the day Daniel officially signs out of recruiting.

It is complete.

How I wanted to go with him, after all we did travel this road together for four years. But, I will complete this four years the way I needed to: caring for our children. That was my job, my title, and my joy. Besides, I kind of think that this was something he needed to do alone.

This day brings sweet relief.
In other breaking news...
"George" the betta, is still alive. I couldn't bear to leave him. So, he's "George" the traveling betta now. He's made it to Syracuse so far. Only 34 more driving hours to go. C'mon George!

The number on the scale is going down. Praise be.

It snowed yesterday. Oh, gag me.

Eliza may be getting her ears pierced today. But, I won't be there. If I was there I would cry. Oh wait, I'll still cry. There is something about purposefully inflicting pain on my children that just kills me.

I made dinner last night. Yes, this is breaking news. It had been quite a while. Eve asked me the other night, with a pleading in her eyes: "Mama, are you ever going to make dinner again?" Talk about guilt!

That you are still reading! It's a wonder, really! I've been so boring, repetitious and quite frankly kind of pathetic lately. I'm ready for normal life again...recipes, pictures, mildly entertaining posts!

Enjoy your Monday, you faithful ones. I'm sure going to.... Carousel Mall here we come!
We are Vermont-less. I haven't cried yet. It's coming though. It will probably sneak up on me. Ugg. I haven't had the time to grieve. A couple tears have slipped from my eyes here and there but the "ugly" cry hasn't happened.

Yesterday when the house was all empty, all I wanted to do was curl up in the corner of my bedroom, let the memories overwhelm me and cry. But, I had no tissues. So I just turned and walked out of the room.

I stood at the door and whispered "good-bye."

Gosh, it was hard to walk out of that house.

Ah geez, just thinking about it brings the stinging tears to my eyes.

There will be yet another post coming about moving. It's swirling around in my head, but it is still in bits and pieces. I haven't really wanted to face my feelings. Compartmentalization can be a lovely thing, my friends.

Someday I will face it all, but not today.

Distractions are also lovely things. Especially when they are in the form of my family.
Moving Day
I'm sad today... And you know what? That's okay. There will be other days to be happy, but today I'm just kinda sad.
And just like that....
Daniel's office keys on his desk

.....it was over.
Last Day of Recruiting
It's hard to believe. Today is Daniel's last day of recruiting duty, tomorrow the movers come. It's amazing to me how, after four years of this incredibly difficult, stressful, life-changing, many times heart-breaking, piece of our life can so quietly come to an end. The sun rose bright and cheery, the birds are chirping just like every other day. How can this day simply be like any other?

In the early morning hours I laid in my bed allowing my heart feel all the emotions associated with this day: joy, relief, anxiety, disbelief, excitement, sadness. How can it just be over? Shouldn't there be some fanfare? Can this really be the end? It came without resplendence. I feel as though the day should be dressed in glory, proclaiming our victory. If nothing else but to convince my heart that it is finally over. That we made it; we defeated this enemy of marriage, of family, of self-confidence. We are forever changed but not broken, not disabled. We are victorious! We are better than when we started, there may be scars but they quickly will become like medals on our chest.

I will never forget this day. Forever it will be sealed in my memory. For this is the day that shows we made it.

We really, really made it.
In a Second...
I'm going through drawers and cupboards this afternoon. Along the way I found a few neglected notebooks. Inside they contained list upon list from months and years past. Innocently flipping through one of them I found a list from when Daniel was deployed, and in a second I was right back in that moment. The loneliness, the clenching of my heart, the sadness, all those deployment feelings, they all washed over me the instant I read my words. It has been an hour since my eyes saw the list, yet a shadow of those feelings is still hanging around my heart.

How is that possible? It's been two years.

As I moved on to another notebook, I had to laugh. This one was filled to the brim with lists, to do's and to buy, menus, phone numbers, quick reminder notes; all the stuff of every day life. The list that made me laugh was from a day when I must have been frustrated with myself. There were a lot of exclamation points after most of the day's jobs, the one that brought a giggle read:

"Wash a dang wall!"

I must have been trying to wash my walls for awhile and finally got fed up. But, unfortunately, it wasn't crossed off which means it most likely never got done. I know this because I am one of those people who lives to cross things off of my list. In fact I write stuff on my list I have already done - that wasn't originally included - just so I can cross it off.

I must say, I almost wanted to keep the notebooks. Just for posterity's sake. Someday it would be interesting to look back on years past and remember what life looked like.

But, because my heart is cold as ice when I'm moving.... into the trash they went.
My Swirling Brain
My head is just all in a tizzy right now. You know how you get something stuck in your head, you're planning on one thing, but then it is suddenly changed. And it throws everything off.

That is where I am at right now.

The movers were coming on Friday. It was planned. Set in cement. Then they called and asked if they could come on Thursday instead. Apparently they feel as though they need two days to pack up our house. I know for a fact that they could pack our house up in a day. We don't have that much stuff.

Now I'm reeling. I had it all planned out - what each day had going on, and my mind was somewhat wrapped around it.

I'm mean really people! I'm type A and I'm German. Don't mess with my plans!

So what do I do now?

I drop back ten and punt.

She's pretty cute. But then, I am a little biased.
Almost five year olds pretty much rock my world.

Spring in Vermont? Already?!
I know... it's a bit early don't you think?

This is what happens when mama forgets her purse in a two year old boys room. Judah fell asleep on the car ride from Tarrah and Sam's house ( this NEVER happens - my kids just don't sleep in the car), I carried my droopy sleepy boy to his room, got him changed and in bed without even realizing I had my purse with me! Surprise! In the morning it was completely messy and my wallet was emptied. This, even with the many admonitions to Judah about never, never, never going through a woman's purse as it is a highly personal object. Someday he'll get it, I'm sure.
Another One

It's official.... we've got another thumb sucker on our hands.
Military Housing

Daniel and I have been poring over house floor plans the last few days. Donna, from the housing office at Cannon, sent them to us on Tuesday.

I just love Donna!

We've been looking at all the different layouts, weighing the pros and cons. Better kitchen or narrow entryway. Bigger bedrooms or covered patio. It's been fun.

This home we are in right now has been absolutely perfect for us. It was a miracle in how it all worked out, and I have done my best to always appreciate it. But, we have outgrown this house. We are very much looking forward to the larger home we will have immediately available to us at Cannon AFB.
The housing we qualify for is a four bedroom home, and most are stand alone, which is awesome! In North Dakota we were in a six-plex and it was noisy. Very noisy. But it had lovely wood floors and huge windows, and at times I still kind of miss it.

I know, I'm silly, you can laugh at me. Tarrah does all the time.

There is a duplex we could choose to move into at Cannon; the nice part about the duplex is that it is right outside the gate to base. But, again, I don't enjoy sharing a wall with another family. It gets too noisy. I am thinking we will probably choose to live a bit farther away from base, sacrificing location for a better living arrangement. We'll be able to better decide once we are actually there.

The most exciting discovery, from the floor plans, is that every house has two bathrooms. This is SO exciting for me. And most of them even have a powder room as well. I can't hardly believe my good fortune!

Here are a couple of things I am wishing for from our new home: a gas stove (electric stoves and I aren't great friends - basically, they suck), an open kitchen ( I have always had a boxed in kitchen and I long to be able to watch my kids play while I cook) a bar area in the kitchen ( I can just see cookies and milk sessions with Eve after school every day), two bathrooms (Yay!), and lots of windows ( I crave light).

Okay, so that's more than just a couple things but it's not horrible, right?! Truthfully, I am just incredibly thankful for a home. One that I don't have to pay rent on, or utilities. I don't have to think about a thing really. And I know, the smart thing to do would be to buy a home and let the Air Force make my mortgage payment. But I'm just not ready to own yet. I take big purchases very seriously. Buying a car requires a whole lot of time and research for me. It took me a couple of months to figure out what camera to buy! I can't even imagine a house at this point. Someday we will own, I am sure of it. But not right now.

And I know what some of you are thinking... Bigger house equals more to clean. Yes, I know that. Thankfully we aren't pack rats, I don't do knick-knacks, and we keep our kid's toys to a very strict minimum. ( I do the whole few toys in their rooms, but switch them out frequently thing) Plus, I actually love to clean. I find a whole lot of satisfaction from cleaning my house.... Loud music, rubber gloves, great smelling cleaning products, my awesome vacuum cleaner..... I am a happy girl!

Anyways.... Yay for floor plans! And two bathrooms!
Arranged Marriage?

Daniel will be drawing up the paperwork for the arranged marriage between Abe and Eliza...
Just kidding. But, they are cute, don't you think?!
April Showers...
If April showers bring May flowers, what do April snows bring...?

Oh, I know.... oaths from mothers stuck inside with their small children.
In Which I take Issue with Costco and United Buying Clubs
Costco went and made my life even easier.

Except, I have to move and there is no Costco where I am going.

Why, oh, why?

Now, my frozen chicken is not only still clean and free of disgusting fat hunks, it's in a nice, neat and leak free individual package. What a beautiful thing it was to open up the big 'ol bag of frozen chicken to find 6.5 pounds of individually packaged chicken pieces. But then I remembered I am moving in 10.5 days, and I cannot fully enjoy the ease of chicken thawing that Costco now allows me.

It's a sad day.

On another sad note... There are no food co-op buying clubs for me to take part in in New Mexico. And I can't start one on my own because United isn't even taking any new clubs right now.

Pooh on them, I say.

No name customer service girl didn't even know she was breaking my heart when she gave me the bad news. No name sat in her little cubicle and probably ate lunch procured from the Whole Foods Market buffet area, while I received the news that not only are there no real health food stores near where I am moving, there isn't even a co-op I can be involved in. No once a month pick-up of boxes and boxes of healthy foods for me anymore.

What's a healthy-eating girl to do? I kinda feel like the rug was just ripped out from under me.

I'm going to go bury my sorrows in a sweet baby girl's chubby neck now....
For Love of a Man
You all know I love my husband, right? Because I do. I really, really do. I would lay my life down for the man; I bore him three children, I kept his family name alive, I vowed in our wedding vows to laugh at all his jokes.... and I do.

But, God love him, the man is a baby when he's sick.


He said to me today:

"I'm sorry I'm not very good at this (being sick)."

Truthfully, I'm not very good at being sick either. I get grumpy and whiny. But, Lord help this family if I ever laid down because I had a cold.

I'm just sayin'....

A Video
Here's a video of my kids with their best friends evah, it was taken last night at Sam and Tarrah's. We sure are going to miss them!
Eve's Salon Visit
Jason and I worked together at Scott Miller's before I got married. To simply say that Jason cuts hair would be doing him a disservice. He is completely awesome. You haven't really had your hair cut until Jason cuts it. And yes, I am biased. My bias is based on years of him cutting my hair, but also because I totally love him! He has haircutting talent that could make him famous. I know why he stays at Scott Miller's, but his hair cuts could take him anywhere he would care to go. He is amazing. Just amazing. He is the reason I go a year between haircuts... no one can cut my hair like he can. I am completely spoiled. And I freely admit that.

Eve needed her hair shaped quite badly. Her bangs had grown out but didn't flow with the rest of her hair, and she needed her ends brought up a bit. Jason was the man for the job. This was Eve's first "official" hair cut. And she had the whole nine-yards. From the shampoo down to the finish. She did excellent, but hardly said a word. She was quiet as a mouse. Even so I could tell she was completely enjoying herself. Afterwards she was able to go out to the front and have lip gloss and blush applied. Such a special time for a special girl!

She sat on a booster and a pile of towels. She looked so tiny in the big shampoo chairs! I never would have dreamed, while working there, that my daughter would be sitting in one of those seats someday!

This is my favorite picture of the whole bunch I took. Love it... LOVE it!
That Jason, he's such a good man.
3 Months

Can you believe this beautiful baby is three months old already? I was looking at her last night and wondering where the time goes. Eliza is my perfect baby... happy and content, unless she's hungry or tired, of course. But don't we all get a bit grumpy when we feel like that too?
She adores her brother and sister; Judah is her protector, Eve is her entertainer and future best friend.
Eliza is full of squeals and smiles, but she hasn't laughed yet. This is not for lack of her parents acting like fools to elicit one out her either. Because, believe me, we have. Eliza's favorite thing in the world is getting her diaper changed; I let her grab and eat my hair while she gurgles and smiles at me.
How I love those moments!
You know what I love best about this girl? Simply that she's ours. Waves of adoration and love wash over me for this little life that has been entrusted to Daniel and I. I pray that I will always be the mother that she needs.
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