Saturday, March 29, 2008

Shooting the AK-47!!!

Wednesday we got to shoot the AK-47, the terrorist rifle of choice. It shoots a 7.62mm round vs. the 5.56mm round of the M-16. 20 rounds in all, the last 8 or so on automatic, which, if you didn't anchor yourself and put a strong shoulder into it, you stepped backward! I'm the 2nd shooter from the right. The instructors are contractors that are mostly retired army special forces and medics. It has been excellent training to include subjects such as Arabic, Middle Eastern culture, history, combat lifesaving, insurgency, counter-insurgency, forward operating bases, M-16 and M9 firing, convoy operations, high-speed defensive driving, force protection, etc.).

Friday, March 28, 2008

A Sweet Night

Last night UCLA beat Western Kentucky in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Basketball Tournament. And guess who happened to be at the game?

That would be Preston. My Dad attended UCLA on a scholarship for baseball back in the day, this is where the excitement of UCLA sports comes into play. One of Preston's request of Grandpa was that he take him to see the UCLA campus. So last Saturday Preston got his own personal tour with Grandpa. And truthfully, I am not sure who was more excited out of the 2!

Sunday I get a phone call from my older brother who now lives in Phoenix with his family. He was calling with a question for his sports fanatic nephew. Preston's eyes got bigger and bigger as they were talking. He tells me that Uncle Bubba got tickets for the two of them to go to both Sweet 16 games last night and to the Elite Eight game tomorrow night in Phoenix. What a majorly cool Uncle. Of course I said yes, while whipping a tear away because it made my little man so happy. So the 3 kiddos and I made the relatively short trek from Southern CA to Arizona yesterday.

The Bruins were victorious last night and now the boys get to see them play tomorrow afternoon in the Elite Eight game. Hopefully Preston will be able to come home and fill in his NCAA tournament bracket sheet with UCLA moving on to the final four game.

And as for Taylor and Mason, they'll gladly stay back and enjoy the pool and playing with their 3 yr. old cousin, Bryson.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Happy Birthday Steve

It was hard not being able to be with Steve on his special day. The kids and I celebrated by eating at McDonald's (per his request - his parents sent us a gift card for his birthday) and then we indulged in his favorite cheesecake from Trader Joe's. We must have talked to him 15 times, sang him his annual "Happy Birthday Song" and reminded him several times that for the next month he is actually 7 years older than I am instead of 6.

So while he's off playing GI JOE on his birthday and blowing up targets instead of candles, here's a fun post about the real Steve!
(I of course swiped this idea from a friend - thx)

What is his name? Steven Dennis Hendricks

AKA? Honey, babe, lovie, dad, Stevo, Boss, Major

Born? Pocatello, Idaho & moved to Nebraska in Kindergarten

Childhood? Grew up on a farm, worked for his Grandpa on his farm, bred, raised and trained racehorses, played football and basketball, sang in the school choir, 17 kids in his graduating class
How long have you been together? A little over 9 years

How long did you date? A whole 9 weeks before we were engaged, everyone except family thought we were crazy. Maybe we were, but it was the best decision I have ever made.

How old is he? As of today, 36

Who eats more? If you have ever been with Steve to a "buffet" you know he eats like it's his last meal. Although, I don't know where he hides it all, must be nice.

Who said I love you first? He did. It was a few days after he had taken me to Nebraska to meet his parents. I think the moment he realized he loved me was after his dad bred a horse for me - a total city girl- and I was still willing to stick around for more excitement on the farm.

Who is taller? Steve, by a foot - gotta love the high heels

Who can sing better? We both like to sing, but I think he has a better voice - a talent of his that not many know about

Who is smarter? Um' after majors like Mechanical Engineering at The Air Force Academy, a MBA from Cal State Long Beach and a Masters Degree in System Design and Management from MIT, I would venture to say Steve is smarter!

Who does the laundry? Mostly me, but Steve will totally do it without being asked and he does a better job of putting it away!

Who pays the bills? Shared responsibility, although I am mostly the one who causes us to have bills

Who sleeps on the right side? Steve, but I find he has a hard time staying on his side (just trying to be honest honey)

Who mows the lawn? Steve, but I told him if he got a lawn mower with a bag, I would do it because I actually like to mow.

Who cooks dinner? when cooking happens at the, but Steve does a great job of reheating leftovers, makes a great pot of ramen noodles, blends up the best smoothies, cooks better pancakes and does do all the BBQ-ing

Who drives? On road trips I used to do most of the driving but after Steve's corrective eye surgery last year, he doesn't mind driving as much

Who is more stubborn? I will humble myself and admit it is definately me

Who kissed who first? After about 3 weeks of dating he kissed me first

Who asked who out first? He asked me out first - I was a little old fashioned... asking guys out wasn't my thing. After our first date I came back to my apartment and told my roommates that he was the guy I was going to marry, one thought I was crazy & the other thought it was romantic!

Who proposed? Steve did. He packed a picnic and took me to the Point Vicente Lighthouse in Palos Verde. While the sun was setting he got down on his knee and proposed. I cried and of course said "YES"

Who has more friends? Wow, this is a tough one. I would say Steve. He knows anyone and everyone. He even does a really good job of keeping in touch with them.

Who is more sensitive? I think I am but Steve can be Mr. Sensitivo at times too

Who has more siblings? Steve has 8 siblings.... a his, hers and ours family. He is the only "ours" so as my girlfriend would say he is "the love child"

Who wears the pants? Steve has a great saying about this, he says "Any man who says he wears the pants in his family will lie about other things too"

Who does the dishes? He'll never sit and watch me do dishes, we usually divide and conquer on this task.

Who is more likely to admit when they are wrong? Refer back to the stubborn question, of course Steve is more likely to admit when he's wrong because I am never wrong. Actually, I have no problems admitting when I am wrong, Steve forgives very easily.

Why do you love your husband? Where do I start? I love that he makes me feel like I am the most important thing in his life. He has a passion for life, for his family and friends, for his country, and his God. I love that he can talk to anyone about anything and everything. I love to watch him playing with Preston, Taylor and Mason and then watch the way they look at him like he's their hero. He is kind, humble, caring, smart, funny and very handsome. He makes me smile and he makes me happy. He is a great man and I am the luckiest girl in the world to have him as my hubby!

Happy Birthday Honey!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

We are loving the 80' weather and our kid's first
Easter Egg Hunt in shorts and t-shirts.
Mason biggest dilema of the day -
trying to figure out how to open his
eggs while at the same time refusing to let go of his UCLA basketball

Steve is doing great. We've gotten to talk to him everyday. The Web Cam has been a hit, today he watched the kids playing ouside while we chatted. He has enjoyed his training the past 2 weeks. I think he enjoys the food and his daily workouts even more. He said the food is really good, all you can eat at every meal. If you know Steve you know he LOVES to eat and never misses an opportunity to chow down. The kids are jealous because he told them that he has a slurpee after dinner everynight to remind him of them. So thoughful! His brother was out there last weekend to see him and then his sister and her family were there this weekend. He's really enjoyed his visitors and I am thankful that they would take the time to hangout with him!

Here is a picture of one of his IRAQI triainers and the guy he rooms with.

The kids and I are keeping busy on our end and doing really well. Inch by inch life is a sinch, yard by yard life is hard. Sometime hard to remember but when I do, it makes a difference! Happy Easter!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patty's Day

After being surrounded by brown and white the past 5 mos in Colorado, I never knew I could be so excited about the color green

green shirts and green grass

green leaves, green grass stains and picking
green limes off the tree
(along with tangerines and lemons)

green sprinkles on yummy leprechaun cupcakes
Green Everywhere......
O' The Luck Of the Irish Family Today!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

STOP in the name of love

Taylor is a daddy's girl. Despite what Steve will say, she has Steve wrapped around her little finger. She is always the one to greet him at the door and jump in his arms or happily call him during his workday to say "hi" and tell him about her exciting day at school. Taylor LOVES treats and Steve LOVES giving her treats. It's a daddy daughter thing they have going on between the 2 of them.

This past week she has anxiously been awaiting a package from Steve. Since he told her Tuesday that he mailed her a little treat, Taylor has made frequent trips to our mail box. I've been trying to explain to her that it takes a few days for the mail to travel from NJ to CO and that unfortunately the mailman only comes once a day. This has been very hard for a 5 year old to understand, especially when the anticipation of an unknown treat is on it's way just for her.

Friday I went outside to take something over to a neighbor's house. I saw that there was something stuck to our mailbox. I walked over to take it down and this is what I found

After 3 days of no package, I guess Taylor decided to take matters into her own hands. I was totally unaware that she made the sign, grabbed the tape and ventured to the mailbox to state her request.

Life was good a few hours later when her letter and treat arrived. I smiled and of course cried a few tears as I carefully took down her precious sign and tucked it away in a special place. There are somethings that are just too hard to throw away. The sign was more than just the word stop. It was a sign of love, of hope and the need of comfort from a little 5 year old girl who misses her dad!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Family Fun

Although last week could best be described as a roller coaster, especially emotionally, we really did have a lot of fun.

A great way to relieve stress and tension
It started off with a few days in Glenwood Springs, outside of Aspen.
We swam in the Hot Springs..... 92' and 104' water and 30' outside the water.
We certainly didn't have to worry about keeping tabs on the kids, no way were they getting out and running around in fear of ice forming on their wet heads.

I think I could get used to this
Steve and I got to get away for a night,
the Forester's took the kids for us......brave friends of ours.
We went to the Broadmoor Hotel. I am neither rich nor famous, but for the night I felt like both. We were greeted at the Valet, Mr and Mrs Hendricks. We were escorted to the check-in desk and introduced to the man behind the counter. After we checked in we were taken up to our room. The Bellman opened the door, turned on our lights, put the key in the snack bar, asked how we wanted our bags organized, asked if he could get us some ice, our bed was turned down, with chocolate on the pillows and robes for each of us get my point.
I promised Steve I wouldn't get used to the royal treatment.

One talented Lobster
One night we played and went to dinner. Holding this Lobster brought back memories of our days in Boston. We would head to the wharf, buy lobsters and then bring them home and cook 'em up. One time I held up a 15lb lobster and it reached from the top of my head to below my waist. The lobster in this picture was holding crayons in it's claws, the kids thought it was very talented and wondered where the paper was.

Things to look forward to
Thank goodness for Mom's. The kids could hardly wait for Nani to come and neither could Steve and I. We have been so happy to have her. It's like having a best friend, the best babysitter, the best house keeper and the best cook rolled up in one! Did I mention that she is the best??

Our famalia

The Last Supper
We had a celebration dinner for Steve the night before he headed out! We celebrated St. Patrick's Day, Easter, his birthday, my birthday, Mother's Day, Father's Day, 4th of July, Taylor's birthday, our Anniversary & Preston's birthday. It was quite the party with Steve's favorites..steak & potato dinner and for dessert red velvet cake
(which I never even heard of until I met Steve)

The week was just what we needed. We made our family a priority and everything else came second. I am so glad we spent the time we did together.
And I have so much to do this week that didn't get done last week, that I will stay
busy and distracted.
A win win for us all.

Sunday, March 9, 2008


The day I have dreaded more than any other day in my life has almost ended. Tomorrow is a new day. Tomorrow the count down begins. Tomorrow life goes on and so will I. Tomorrow I will wake up and I will be ready to start the adventure that lies ahead of me and our family. Tomorrow I will look forward to Steve's phone call, the email, the stories of his day. Tomorrow I will be a little more stronger. Tomorrow can't come fast enough!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Finding Time To Have Fun

What have we been up to? Besides lots of odds and ends, we have had fun this past week.

Here are a few highlights

Bowling... we had a blast!

Date nights with Daddy. Steve let the kids decide where they wanted to go.
These were their ideal dates with Daddy
Taylor choose Build-A-Bear, Chinese food, the dollar store & grocery store (shopping of course)
She especially loved the rose and balloon!
Preston choose Build-A-Bear, Chinese Food, bowling and then playing basketball
at the Cadet gym
Not surprised to say the least. They came home after 10 pm with red faces and hunger pains.
Steve got to record a message for each of them in their dog/horse from Build-A-Bear
Mason's turn will be this week!

Can I just tell you how amazing Steve's colleagues are? They had a great luncheon for Steve at Old Chicago's. Steve had a "Proud Dad moment" when Mason ate 3 pieces of pizza.

Preston's school play, he was darling!

The Air Force Basketball Game. Mason LOVES the bird, they've got this non-verbal
connection thing going on!
Preston and Taylor got to sit on the court side and even performed YMCA with the cheerleaders.

Steve's brother and sister came for a few days to visit. We weren't the greatest host as we had so much to do but they were troopers to go along with us. Steve even put Keith to work cutting wood for our metal sign business. I had to include this picture because it shows Mason throwing a fit, he totally goes limp!

This week we are going away as a family for a few days. Steve and I are even getting away for a night, just the 2 of us. My mom flies in Friday and then Steve leaves way too early Sunday morning... YIKES. This week we are going to enjoy as much as we can!