Friday, September 28, 2007

growth spurt? and normal

I think Charley's growing ... he's eating a lot and being really clumsy. He keeps falling down randomly and bumping his head and running into things. I'll have to keep an eye on him to make sure this accident prone stage isn't just an active boy thing, or something else. For now though, I think it's because he's getting a little more lanky. :) We'll see.

Will is driving home tonight, as I write this. He'll only be home for 3 days, but still, it's been two months! I miss him so much and I know the boys miss him too. He'll be gone again next Tuesday for his brother's graduation and travel to TX with him, then fly to Norfolk to make sure our house is ready for new renters when we find them. So if anyone is interested, 803 Townsend Ct. Norfolk, VA 23502 is available beginning Oct. 8. :) You can see our ad at militarybyowner.com. Anyway, then he'll be home again for about a week and start department head school.

It will be so nice to get back to normal again (even if it means I have to start cooking regularly again-not one of my favorite things right now with two kids running around that need supervision). Hopefully it will get me to plan ahead more and do more prep-work in the morning or whenever I have down time. We'll see how it goes. I'm more of a baker, than a cook. :) I enjoy making pastries, pies, desserts etc. I think cooking will become more enjoyable once the kids are a little older though. I hope.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

our pics are ready!

If you want to see the pics we had taken at the Academy when I went down to visit Will, just click on this link: Visual Concepts and enter the session ID: williamandleigh_portrait We're so excited with how they turned out! It was so much fun to take them too. :) I'm so glad we'll have this memory of Will in uniform, especially at the Academy. If he ever gets out, it will be a nice memory of his time in the military. Hope you all like them and if anyone wants to order any, the info is on the same page as the pics. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

apple picking

The next craft I undertook came from a "Country Home" magazine I picked up while I was waiting for a flight down to Baltimore. It was all about decorating with pumpkins and apples. One of the decorations was an apple garland, heavy, but pretty. :) So this past weekend, we went apple picking at the Rocky Brook orchard on Wapping Rd. here on Aquidneck Island. It turned out to be the perfect weekend for picking MacIntosh apples (according to the owner). The boys didn't quite get it, but we had fun and got a lot of apples. The owner even let me get two bags of cheaper apples that had fallen on the ground for my garland! I have a lot of baking to do this weekend so if you live close and want an apple pie, I'm making them in bulk when Will comes home this weekend. Anyway, I hung my garland above the door. You bore holes in the apples with bamboo skewers then put twine through them. It's holding well. I don't have colorful leaves to put on it yet, but I'm looking. I also made an apple wreath which I haven't glued together yet, but hopefully will finish this weekend as well.

Next, I want to carve pumpkins, but I'm afraid a bunch of pumpkins and the garland would be a little too much produce for one front door. The garland is supposed to only last about 2 weeks, so maybe I'll wait until then to go pumpkin picking on the island. :)

crafty finger

If you're good at growing things, you have a green thumb, but what if you get crafty for a little while? Do you have a sticky finger? (b/c of all the glue) or is that only for baking? Anyway, since Will's Aunt Donette came to visit this passed weekend, and Will's Mom was here a week before that, I've been able to pull a few projects together and thought I'd share.

First is a shelf for some wooden letters I've been painting (for years) of the boys' names. I didn't want to hang each one individually (that's like 25 holes in the wall), but all the shelves are much to wide for these 1/2" thick letters. So I had to come up with something else. (by the way, ledge shelves are really expensive at Micheal's) and I really needed just a ledge. So Will's Mom and I had the idea of putting a piece of pretty molding (for the wall) against a small, flat piece of wood (like a 1/2" x 3") and that would make the thickness I would need for the ledge. I glued them together, clamped them and then nailed them (just to be sure). :) Maybe it was overkill, but I don't want the glue coming apart in the humidity. Anyway, the next step is to stain them. I'm not even finished with the letters yet, but now all I have to do is hang the ledges (2 for each boy b/c I did their first and middle names) and then set the letters on them (high enough that the boys can't reach them of course). :)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

poetry blog name

Please help me pick a new name for the poetry blog I want to start. I listed a few options in the poll on the right, but if anyone has any other suggestions, please leave a comment. I want it to be a collection of work I love that has already been written, work of my own, and poetry by other people if they are willing to have it posted. I don't necessarily have to love it all, which is why I liked the Potluck Poetry idea for a name, but it didn't sound artistic, classy or symbolic enough for what I usually prefer, but it IS down to earth and simple and an honest representation of what the blog will hopefully be so that's all good. Any ideas? :) Thanks

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

ps.

check out the collage of pics I put together at the bottom of this blog. it's a long scroll down, but worth it! :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Amazing Annapolis Weekend

 
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This past weekend I got to fly down and visit Will for a wonderful weekend getaway in Annapolis. We'd been planning it for weeks and it finally arrived. Will's mom was gracious enough to extend her stay with me so she could watch the boys and we just took her back to the airport today, so sad, but it was time and I know she missed her hubby. :) Let me just quickly say that I appreciate my in-laws visiting so much and surviving this time while Will is away would have been soo hard without them. Thank you!! :)

Ok, back to the wonderful weekend. It has been years since we got to get away, just the two of us. In fact, the last time was probably, when Charley was a year old when we stayed one night in a nearby hotel. This was my first time really away from Ben, which was so hard, and our first trip away and alone since the kids have been born. Anyway, that's why we wanted it to me memorable and planned it so much. :) The main goal though, was simply to relax, and enjoy our time together at this stage in our lives.

I flew out on Friday and Will surprised me with gifts waiting for me to open at the hotel. I knew he had gone shopping for me, but he really outdid himself. He had jewelry, lingerie, outfits all wrapped in matching paper. He got all my measurements in advance and everything fit like a charm. I didn't have to keep it all, and I didn't, and he was so generous to not be offended if I wasn't automatically thrilled with something. It was fun, none the less and he said he really enjoyed getting to dress me in fun things that I don't usually get for myself. When I first arrived at the BWI airport and saw Will, it still took me an hour or so to realize I was on vacation and really relax, but I'd say by the time we got to the hotel, the kids and stress were temporarily forgotten!

Friday night we got to eat at one of my favorite places in the Annapolis area, Cantler's. I loooove crab and they sell lots of it there. They bring it to you on a tray covered in Old Bay and your table cloth is a thick brown piece of paper. Anyway, we had fun digging for all the meat until we couldn't eat any more. I think the two of us made it through 8 of them!

Saturday was so relaxing. We slept in, then went to have breakfast at the Pennsylvania Dutch Amish Farmer's Market. It was so cool!! The whole place is filled with fresh things: everything from meat and produce to pastries and pies. Their cinnamon rolls are amazing! :)

Next, we did a little shopping and then headed over to the tattoo shop to see if they had a Navy Crew symbol on file that a bunch of Will's crew friends have gotten. I was even going to get one too, for fun, a little dragonfly on my hip, but alas, they didn't have the "N" symbol and so we didn't get tattooed. :) (hmmm what must everyone be thinking about this??) :)

Anyway, after that, we went back to the hotel room for a soak in the hot tub and ordered a movie ("Meet the Robinsons" which was a lot deeper and darker than I expected, but fun) and then took a nap.

Then we headed out to meet friends at a tailgate party before the big Navy v. Ball State game. We had such a blast at the game and it was so fun to catch up with friends and just relax and watch a football game, especially an Academy home game! It was so fun to watch the plebes to push ups every time Navy scored. Unfortunately, Navy lost in overtime, but we still had a blast!!

Then we went out for a quick dinner and dessert with some friends and headed back to the hotel to crash for the night.

As if it could get anymore special, Will's ultimate surprise was to have a photographer take pictures of us at different places around the Naval Academy yard! He wore his black SDB uniform and I had gotten a dress earlier Saturday for the occasion. I thought red would be a good color to compliment his uniform and stand out against all the white marble and green grass at the Academy. He had actually bought dresses and shoes for me and wanted his mom to sneak a dress in my bag b/c he wasn't quite sure what I should wear, but the dresses he picked didn't fit and the dress I ended up packing (his mom gave it away b/c she couldn't find it):) didn't really work b/c it was white. She didn't tell me what it was for though so it was still a surprise when I got there.

Anyway, the pics turned out beautiful. We got a preview even though the photographer is still editing them. I'll post the link when we get it though and there's a link to her studio on the right, her name is Linda Etherington and I listed her as "great Annapolis photographer". :) She really got into taking our pictures and it was so amazing to watch her create art right before our eyes. We love the Academy and wanted to remember this time in our lives as a special one. It will also be a nice way to remember this special weekend (not to mention the fact that I'll actually have a nice record that I've finally gotten back down to my preferred size after having Ben). We've moved about 6 times, had two kids, done a deployment and been married 6 years. I know some people have done more, but it's been quite a lot for us. We're at a slower time now that the boys are at easier ages and Will is in school. Next year when we move again, in May, things will pick up once Will is on a ship and so we wanted to take advantage of this "down" time.

Thanks Debbie for watching the kids so we could have this wonderful weekend. We feel so blessed that we could do this together. Thank you Will for planning such an amazing time for us together and for all the thought and time that went into it. We all miss you and can't wait for you to be home for good in three weeks! :) I love you!!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Been awhile . . .

It's been awhile since I posted ... so much has been going on.

Another drama before the in-laws got here: the breaks on the sub went out while I was taking the children to a play date. We managed to pull into a day care parking lot so I could call USAA and get a tow. The car got fixed just in time to pick up Will's parents the next day and a the friend I was going to see for the play date squeezed us into her sedan and even took me grocery shopping to make sure I had stuff in case I didn't get the car back for awhile. So sweet! Anyway, another misadventure full of God's grace and blessings.

Will's parents came and were such a blessing. I got to see Will that first weekend (2 weeks ago now) and that was wonderful. He almost didn't make it home because they got held in class too late, but he caught the last flight out Friday night on standby. That was such a special night because I had gone to see a movie ("The Bourne Ultimatum") with Will's dad, then right when we got out, Will's mom called to tell us Will had caught a flight and was coming home, yay! Then as we drove to pick him up, we drove over the Pell bridge while fireworks were going off only yards away off the Navy War College peninsula!! It was beautiful! :) Not to mention the cheap parking spot I got really close to the theater minutes before the movie started which, if you know anything about Newport in the summer, is almost impossible (so we didn't have to pay $20 for a spot) :) Anyway, it felt like God was just smiling down on us giving us one little blessing after another to make a really special night, especially after I got to see my husband! :)

Will's dad, Doug, stayed for a week and we got lots of yard work done. It was great! I love yard work and got so much trimming and pruning done that I had been dying to do for years here at this rental house. We made 3 or 4 trips to the dump to take twigs and stuff and then I got to go pick out some mums to plant out front. They're so pretty and lined with stones. I'll have to post a pick.

Then, we also started pre-school a week ago! Charley looked so cute for his first day. It was one of our most difficult mornings, getting ready, but I think it's because he knew it was a big day. Anyway, we made it with the grandparents and Ben. We took pictures and prayed together and he had a great day. The teacher said he and a couple of other boys bounced off the wall the first day because of the newness of everything, but this week she said he was doing great, sitting still etc. I was so proud of him for telling the teacher when he had a problem when another kid took his toy away, instead of trying to "handle" it himself. We've worked on that when Ben takes toys and since Charley has turned 3, the changes have been amazing. He's so sweet to his brother, even than before. He gives him toys and food and drink and his little comfort bear and trying to "make him happy" all the time. So far, they're turning out to be the best of friends. Anyway, Charley is loving pre-school and doing great. He hasn't had any potty accidents and is bringing home artwork almost everyday, so fun! He's polite and respectful to his teachers saying, "excuse me," if he needs help and thanking them everyday before he leaves (with my prompting). He picks up his trash after lunch and I'm enjoying decorating his paper sack every morning with stickers and markers. I even asked him if he'd like a lunch bag like all the other kids, but he said he likes his decorated sack better. :) I couldn't be more proud or thrilled for him and me since we've both worked so hard for about 2 years now to get where we are. Charley is more challenging than most kids and has quite a stronger will so it's taken a lot more patience and constance to get him here and it's nice to see all the hard work, love and discipline finally paying off. Now it looks like Ben is headed for his terrible 2's (not quite there, but soon), but at least I'll have experience, and he'll have a very sweet brother to be a good example for him. We'll just pray through it all again and hopefully make it out soon with more grace and support from others than I was granted with Charley, and always by the grace and help of God.

Will's mom, Debbie, will be here until next Tuesday and we've had a wonderful time together. She has saved me during these long weeks while Will is away. It's so nice to have an adult to talk to and someone to help out with the kids, as well as all the cooking and cleaning she helps with. She's been such a blessing. We've been on the Newport Dinner Train and to the Topiary Gardens and to parks and other places and had a blast with the kids. I will miss her when she's gone, but thankfully, Will's Aunt Donnette will be out to visit in a week and then Will will be home soon! :) It's been a long month and a half and now we're almost done.

This weekend I get to fly down to visit Will, while Debbie stays with the kids, for a Navy football game and for his 29th birthday! :) We'll get to see friends from his class and just enjoy a weekend away together. We both can't wait and the weather is supposed to be beautiful for it all! Please pray for Debbie while I'm gone. I'll be home Sunday afternoon.

On another note, I'm going to start giving voice lessons to a girl from our church who lives down the street and I'm very excited about the chance to actually use my training again, and get paid for it! I gave piano lessons when we lived in Monterey, CA and had about 5 or 7 students, but haven't done voice yet. I think I'll also give her some basic piano and theory as well and that is always a blast for me! :) Now if I could start composing again and maybe singing professionally again, that would be great! :)

Ok that's all for now. I'll share pics and more stories when I come home. Oh and fall is here by the way, YAY!

Later Gators! :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007