Thursday, June 26, 2008

This evening we went to the park with a family whose husband/dad is deployed with Steve. Our first meeting was the morning we were saying good-bye to the guys at the airport. It has been comforting to keep in touch and to be with someone who is going through the same situation. Amy is such a great person and always has a smile on her face. She's a great example to me. Her little guy Jared is so adorable. I just want to kiss his cute cheeks and squeeze him tight whenever I see him. Our kiddos had a great time together at the park. It was a great evening. Thanks Amy and Jared!

Jared, Mason and Taylor


This one was more for the scenery!


The kids attempted to catch fish/ducks with their sticks




Until we found this sweet little family who let the kids use their fishing pools for a few minutes



Mason called out "Choo Choo where are you?"


And when it finally came, he was so excited all he could do was dance!


We'll be repeating this evening again soon, including the ice cream at the end to top it off!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

10 on Tuesday

Okay readers, reply with what you know!

#1. It's "HUMP DAY" Weirded out? I will explain. Steve's total time away is 7 mos. Today is the half way point. So the hump is in reference to the fact that it's all down hill from here. I'd post a new picture of Steve if he'd send me one (hint hint, wink wink) or I am thinking we would love a post of his own soon.

#2. HELP!! Next Monday is my last day to workout with Patsy until August. Who needs music when you have a friend to entertain you instead. We are on different vacation schedules in July so it's time to dust off the Ipod and upload some new music. What are some of your favorite workout songs? And for those of you who cringe at the "W" word, what are songs you would listen to IF you were to break out the sneakers. Titles and Artists would be greatly appreciated!

#3. Are there things you wish you would have learned from your parents or another adult when you were younger? This past week I realized that I wish I would have learned how to be a better seamstress. My mom is amazing at sewing. Each year she makes Taylor's Easter and Christmas Dresses. I have saved these dresses for her daughter to wear someday. She made some of the greatest window treatments, pillows and bedskirts for my home while she was here last week. Growing up, I was so busy with other things that sewing wasn't a priority, although now I wish it would have been. So I guess there's no better time than now to start learning. What are you doing with your kids to help them develop talents that they may not appreciate now but will someday? Here are a few of the dresses she's made.




#4. I have a 5 yr old who needs to get out of pull-ups at night. ADVICE PLEASE!

#5. Mason is my lovie. He loves to cuddle, has sweet little manners and melts my heart. He never had a lot to do with me while his daddy was around. But with Steve gone, he doesn't usually leave my sight. Which is okay, most of the time. Yesterday he was pointing out boo boos on his body, or anything that even looked like one....ie freckles, just so I would kiss them. Tonight I put him to bed and he pointed to his tummy and said "Ow." I asked if he had a boo boo. He said
"yeah" then pulled up his shirt and said "kiss me." How could I resist kissing that cute tummy!



#6. Preston was in a parade in Nebraska Saturday evening. I don't get a whole lot of information from him, he's not the best at providing details. But from what I hear, he dressed up like an Indian and threw candy to the kids while riding Goddess the horse. His Indian name was Little Chief Sitting Bull. He is so serious in the pictures because "Indians don't smile" I really miss my buddy.

#7. Arranged marriages. I can see why some cultures do this. Last night we hung out with some friends who have 4 boys. I am thinking I have a pretty good chance that Taylor could marry one of them. 1 daughter to 4 sons. The odds could be in my favor on this one!

#8. Colorado is beautiful during the summer. Although it's not my favorite place in the winter, the summer months are great. The sky is blue, the weather is mild and the occasional thunderstorms are a sight to see. Our spare bedroom in the basement is open to visitors!

#9. Summer activities. I love to be on the go. I love to tour, check out new things, get out of the house. But sometimes it's so nice to hangout at home with just my kids. What are some fun things you do AT HOME with your kids during the summer? My friend Samantha did an art class with her kids, check it out. Keep in mind ages 7, 5 and 2.

#10 Taylor swam the entire length of the pool today by herself. She is my fishy. Now if I could just get Mason to ease up on his death grip a little, I could have 2 fishies at the pool! Advice on how to get your toddlers to relax in the pool?


Have a great week!


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Blackmail

The other day I was looking through old pictures. Oh my goodness, I realized that blackmail could be a great thing when the time comes! My poor kids. There were some that had me laughing so hard, but they wouldn't necessarily be appropriate for the world to see. So here's my G-rated version of blackmail pictures!

Preston crying because Taylor got the mail instead of him. His face, priceless!

Cross-dressing is a common occurance with these 2, they think it's so funny

Preston and Taylor during one of their "shows" Nice socks Preston

One day Mason walked out of the house and into the street with his new trash can on his head. Ill have more of him someday, but when you are 2 everything is more adorable than it is funny.

Nice finger up the noise and lack of pants. Wouldn't this be a perfect picture for an engagement card!!

Poor Taylor! She was playing with my perfume samples and I asked her to smile for me, she crossed her eyes and gave me some sort of gangster sign! She is really going to hate this picture someday. I am still laughing.

Why is underwear so funny to kids? I hope someday he never has someone DO this to him!

We have a few of these, but this was the only one that didn't show things you really don't need to see.

Cowgirl meets beach girl. I am going to have to post pictures sometime of Taylor and all her little poses. This is the most common pose, hand on the hip and a little tilt!

Now you need to find some great blackmail pictures of your kids and let me know when you post them!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ten On Tuesday

I have a few friends that post a "Ten on Tuesday" weekly. I am totally stealing their awesome idea and running with it! Especially a day like this when there is so much to write about! So here is my first go at it (in random order)

#1 After 4 long weeks, I should no longer see a painting or a restoration van in front of my home. I am so happy to report that all the work for my flooded basement is completed, done, so long, hope I never have to deal with this issue again for the rest of my life!

#2 Having my mom here makes me feel like I'm not a single mom anymore!! I've come to realize that having her here is like having a wife! She cooks, does the laundry, plays with the kids, cleans, babysits (and I don't have to pay her $8-10 per hr), she's sewing, taking kids on dates, helping run errands, never complains and so happy to help. Thanks Mom, you really are the best! I hope someday I can do the same for my children that you have done for me and my family!

#3 Taylor! I love this girl. Lately she has been using my favorite words........."adorable" "Tootsie Wootsie" "perfect" "totally" or she said to me one day "Mom, if I only button this button, it's more "darling." Anyways, last week we were in the store and she said "That girl is hot." Um, um, excuse me????? I may say a lot of things..but "hot" is certainly not one of them. She had no idea where she had heard it from and she thought it meant "cool." All day I kept thinking about where she would've heard it. I swear I don't let her watch Paris Hilton's reality show. And of course I couldn't blame Steve for this one. Fast forward a few days later. We were in the car and had the "Bee Movie" on. All of a sudden I hear on the movie "That girl is hot!" A Disney movie of all things. I asked her if that's where she heard the word "hot" from and she said yes. We talked a little about it and I told her that "hot" also means "pretty." Without missing a beat she said "Mommy, you are hot!" Thanks Taylor!

#4 Preston is having a great time playing cowboy in Nebraska. Today they bathed the horses. I asked him if they used special horse shampoo. He said "Nope, just soap and a big sponge." When I told him that our basement was done and that tomorrow Nani and I were going to put everything back in it's place he said "I'm sure glad I'm not there to do it." Well then. I'll let him clean horses and I'll stick to cleaning a basement.

#5 Mason had to have a cast put on a few days after a box of shelving fell on his foot. Although there were no broken bones, the Dr was concerned because after 3 days, he still wouldn't walk on it. The Dr took the cast off after a week. They took more X-rays and still no signs of anything. Here we are a week later and Mason is running and jumping and totally back to being his busy little self! Although I have to admit, the cast was put on the day before we flew out to CA for my Grandma's funeral, and not being able to put pressure on his foot turned out to be a great thing for the plane ride.

#6 Free personal training makes me happy and makes me sore! Patsy and I are training for free, twice a week, for the rest of the summer, not too bad. But I realize now that the hour of working our behinds off is also a hour of entertainment for our trainer. If there is one thing that never gets tired, it's our mouths. That's why she's such a great workout partner.

#7 How is it that I have been wearing MAC make-up for over 10 yrs and it wasn't until last night that I learned about their great face wipes? A must have for night time makeup removal. Especially if you don't want to have to breakout the washcloth and soap!

#8 Kitchen gadgets I'm loving right now:
Pineapple Slicer
Mango Pitter
Avocado Pitter/Slicer
Core & More (perfect for removing stems from strawberries)

#9 Last night Steve and I got to web cam after 3 1/2 weeks. The plan was that he was going to call at 11 pm my time. I was in Denver with some girlfriends and was stressing when we hit construction traffic at 10:15 pm. After stressing, we decided all we could do was turn up the music, rock out and pray that we'd get home in time. Well, we were a few minutes late, but we made it and Steve was greeted by a room full of women, including Taylor. I miss him so much.

#10 So my last item, Lucky Brand Store is having a huge sale right now. It's their twice yearly 50% sale. Last night they stayed open a hour later for us while we tried on way too many clothes. So if you like Lucky or have never wanted to pay that much for a pair of jeans, now is the time to hit the store.



Saturday, June 14, 2008

Happy Father's Day Daddy

Hi Daddy,
Happy Father's Day. We can't wait until you come back home. We miss running to the door and jumping in your arms when you get home, coming to visit you at work, playing outside, weekend morning pancakes and eggs, wrestling, slurpees, bedtime routines and especially our bedtime burritos, your funny stories, playing ball, playing at the Academy, popcorn nights and date nights. We miss you. We are so happy to have you as our Daddy. You are the greatest Dad in the whole wide world!! Have a great day in Iraq.
Happy Father's Day! We love you with all our hearts.
Love,

Preston aka "P-dog"



Taylor aka "Sis"



Mason aka "Moose"



Happy Father's Day Dad from 7017 miles away

Friday, June 13, 2008

Happy Things

Today Patsy and I had another one of our FREE personal training sessions. After we were done, our trainer said to put our names on his schedule for twice a week for the rest of the summer!!
Can I just say "YIPPEE"

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Grandma Ruth

When I was 4 yrs old, my dad's mom passed away. 2 yrs later my Grandpa married Ruth. Last week Ruth passed away. She was a wonderful lady who lived a long, fulfilling life. She always had a smile on her face, I never heard her speak a harsh word, she loved to help others and loved nothing more than Grandpa and her family. Her death was sudden and fortunately she didn't have to suffer.

In March, the kids and I got to spend a lot of time with her and Grandpa in California. For some reason, I felt as if I needed to cherish the moments and capture them with my camera.


Great Grandparents with the kids

Grandma at the park

Great-Grandpa with Mason

One of my favorite pictures
Great Grandpa, Great Grandma and Taylor

My dad is an only child. So my 3 siblings and myself are his only grand kids. Between us 4, he has 10 great-grand kids. My dad wanted all of the family to be there for the funeral. We were all able to make it. It was a great reunion. We certainly kept Grandpa busy and the 10 great-grand kids helped occupy his time with plenty of entertainment. By the 3rd night, he was ready to go home by himself. I think he was searching for peace and quiet.

My (sister) Becky, (brother) Bryan, Grandpa, me, (brother) Kelly

Our lives have been blessed because of Ruth. She and Grandpa were good for each other. My dad says that "Grandpa got his hop back in his step when Ruth came into his life." She was a sweet woman and a priceless gift to our family. She will be greatly missed. But we look forward to the day when we will all be together again.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Life on the FOB - Al Taji

No, I haven't abandoned the blog! The kids and I left last week in a hurry to California after we got word that my Grandma had passed away. We just got back this evening. Here is an update from Steve. Exactly 3 months behind us as of today.

Here’s a picture of my class of 11 Iraqi 2nd Lts that after 3 months were reduced to 7 since 4 no longer desired to be pilots. By Iraqi AF policy all pilot candidates must attain a 70% score on the American Language Course Proficiency Test. After 3 months 7 of the 11 were around a 35% average – the 4 previously mentioned didn’t have the desire and would never obtain a 70% score no matter how much time they were given. They’ll go off into the Iraqi AF and do other things. For the others to reach a 70%, they’ll need another 6 months in my opinion. Time will tell if the Iraqi leadership will have the patience for that.
Iraqi’s are extremely social people and will surround you as if you were handing out cash. One day two female soldiers who contribute to an Army unit newspaper came over to the school house to get some info. My Lt’s gave them the standard “welcome.”
You can find almost anything on a FOB. Our unit found 2 vehicles that were basically left for junk and got them working. Here is one with a customized paint job – pictured is Maj Darin Williams, here at Rusty with me – he is out of the computer science department at the Air Force Academy.
Unlike Rusty which is very small, Taji is a large FOB and very spread out. There is quite a bit of MWR stuff to do. I played shortstop on our softball team; our average age was around 40 since we are an advisory unit. The rest of the base is much younger due to their combat mission. Before I left we were around 0.500. Captain John “Throw Back” Mancuso always had a cigar in his mouth while coaching 3rd base. Interesting note – the person at TAji that was the director of all the athletic events was a KBR contractor in his 4th year. He is finishing up his last months in the AOR and then will pay his last alimony check and return to his wife now living in the Philippines. He is getting paid a huge salary to be here – as are most American contractors. I’ve never felt like such a small cog in a huge machine like I do here in Iraq. Anyone who simply says that we can easily pack up and leave is extremely na├»ve. The amount of logistics and funding that go into this war is enormous.
I was also on our unit’s basketball team that reached the semi-finals of the FOB tournament. We lost by 2 to the team that won easily the championship game. We won 3 games and lost 1. This was the most fun I’ve had with athletics in 2-3 years. We picked up 2 Army guys (Chuck & Bird) – the rest were from our AF unit (SSgt Bookman, SMSgt Williams, Capt Troy Thomas, SSgt Terrance Johnson, & MSgt Scott). Bookman played small college basketball and TJ was recruited for football by major colleges – but chose the AF route. We played really hard so we had nothing to regret – a great time.
Here’s a picture of the group at Taji that attending the Latter Day Saint services with me.
This is the Iraq Air Force Academy schoolhouse; probably the nicest building on the Iraqi side. Fuel for running the generators was in short supply. They were turned on at 9AM and shut off at 3PM, so we taught during those times and quit in the afternoon when the rooms got too hot to teach in after the generators were shut off. We then went back to our air conditioned pods while the Iraqi’s returned to their barracks (no A/C). We aren’t just training the younger officers and cadets, but trying to advise the senior level officers. At Taji, there were 2 one-stars, 1 colonel and a Lt Col that we worked with. FOB Rusty, where I am now, provides a contrast to Taji – I’ll post a blog next week on that.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Summer Time

How can you not love summer when days like today you get to............

Go swimming with these two kiddos

BBQ and play at the park with friends

Watch Mason shove his mouth full of Doritos and not even care!

Play at the park until 9pm, when it finally gets dark and then come home and play some more!

I LOVE SUMMER!