Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Home is where the Army sends us. . .

And "home" is about to change again. The crazy Keys are moving . . .
While we LOVE Ft. Stewart and LOVE LOVE the 3d ID and LOVE LOVE LOVE being close to Atlanta, David was offered an opportunity that he could not pass up. So we are moving to Scott AFB, Illinois, home of the United States Transportation Command. He will be the aide-de-camp to the USTRANSCOM Commander. This will be a great chance for him to do lots of cool things. He is super excited and overwhelmed! He is buying new uniforms that he has never needed and getting his passport renewed. I am excited for him, except that we will not see much of him. His new boss will be out of town all but 4 days next month, so it will resemble a deployment. Just not as scary for me AND we will get surprise visits from time to time!

The coolest thing is that my Daddy is there. Many people assume that Daddy had something to do with his getting this job. He, in fact, did not. BUT, David is used to people assuming that Daddy does him favors, so I guess that is OK. One time when he was at an army school, he got his next assignment changed. He walked into the bathroom and overheard someone saying, "I am sure his father-in-law had something to do with it." He laughed. Then another Major General came to speak to their class. David had worked for him before, so he spoke to David by name in the class. He then overheard someone say that this MG must have pulled some strings on David's behalf. He laughed harder. People are going to think what they want to think, I guess.

Truthfully, Daddy was even on leave when he interviewed and was selected. If anything, Daddy's being already there almost hurt him because no one wanted the appearance of impropriety. The comments from people have already started, and it really bothers David. It is as if to say that he did not earn this shot on his own. I told him the next time someone says something he should say, "I'll be sure to tell the General that you are of the opinion that he cannot think for himself." Maybe that will shut their mouths!! The bottom line is that I may be sad to spend less time with David over the next year, but I am happy to spend more time with Daddy!!

AND the kiddos are THRILLED that we will live somewhere with snow! Although, I am having some trouble convincing them that it is not snowing there right now. They do not understand that it is summer everywhere at the same time!!

I am not terribly happy to be going through the process of moving again so soon. On paper, we have been at Ft. Stewart for almost a year, but we have only lived here full time since January 1. We have the fence up, the fans up, the doggie door installed, the pictures hung, the shed built, the flowers planted, and everything just like we want it. Oh well! No one ever said that the army life was easy, right? And from what we can tell the on base housing is somewhat bigger there. That is a good thing, wouldn't you agree?

All the time I spent researching the kindergarten options here was wasted. . . BUT at least it looks like we will be situated for one whole school year, just not at all where I thought we would be. That's what I get for thinking. . .

Monday, April 27, 2009

My baby brother got married

On April 18, 2009 at Tybee Island, GA, my baby brother Lucas got married. I know he is definitely not a baby anymore, but he will ALWAYS be my baby brother. One time when I was at NGC, he was coming up to help me move (one of the many times). I was busy, so I kept poking my head out to look for him. I was afraid I missed him, so I asked someone, "Have you seen my baby brother?" I was going to elaborate and describe him, but the person I asked panicked because she thought he was a lost baby!!

When we were little, I had friends who had a sister. I thought I wanted one for a while, but then I decided I would rather have Lucas than a sister. We have always been close. And I love to watch Jessa and Spencer because it is like reliving a part of my childhood with Lucas. David and Lucas have also always been close. They are gross and annoying sometimes when they get together, but they are also pretty darn cute, too!

Anyway. The wedding was at the beach. Can you tell?

I was excited to buy cool Hawaiian beach clothes for the kiddos. They looked awesome, and I am not AT ALL biased. I actually got tons of compliments.

Look at my beach babies!!

The whole weekend was fun. Mom and Daddy (although, we all knew who did most of the work, right?) threw one heck of a party, I mean, rehearsal dinner!
Momma and Daddy - it is hard to get a picture of her. . .
She is usually so evasive that she could be in Delta Force!

We so enjoyed having Lucas (and all his buddies) with us while we all got ready.

Daddy pointed out that the GA fans were standing a bit away from the FL fan,
but they still love each other.
One cool groom. . .

Daddy, Lucas, and me before the ceremony.

AND I was so worried the kiddos would be crazy since they LOVE to play at the beach. But they were very nice and quiet. Of course, we did let Spencer play in the sand the whole time. . .

Jessa enjoys the fan that was in her chair while Spencer and insectasaurus played in the sand.
Daddy was a terrific best man and even made an excellent toast.

I will share a few funnies. . .
When Lucas and Candice headed to Tybee, they forgot the CD player for the wedding music. SO, they bought a cheapo one at Wal-Mart. They changed the batteries 2 times, but when it was almost "go time," it would not work. So my awesome D took off on a quick mission to retrieve 6 new "C" batteries. He was successful:
Our hero, running back to the beach with the new batteries.

Of course, the CD player still did not work. It turned out OK because all of the guests hummed the wedding march. . . We are not too proud to sing for our supper!

AND Jessa, as she is prone to do, found a new BFF in Caroline, the daughter of one of Lucas's fraternity brothers from VSU and the granddaughter of the preacher. They sat together at the rehearsal dinner and were joined at the hip at the wedding and reception. Shortly after we arrived to start the ceremony, she hollered to me, "Momma, can me and my new friend run to the sea?" I told her the sea could wait until after the ceremony.
Caroline and Jessa at the rehearsal dinner - BFF!

Candice's niece was quite taken with Spencer. She followed him around and played in the sand with him. They were together quite a lot. So I asked him if Zoe was his new girlfriend. He looked shocked and said, "No, mommy, Zoe is just a baby." I guess he is right.

I mean, she is only 2, while he is a worldly and wise 3. . .

Congratulations to Lucas and Candice!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

what a dumb mother!

My children have a dumb mother. Of course, I better not ever hear them actually say that out loud. Although sometimes with the looks I get and tone they use, they may as well be saying those words.

Jessa LOVES these little rubbery, stretchy animals. Spencer likes them, too, but Jessa loves loves them - she REALLY LOVES them, names them, sleeps with them, builds them houses, sings to them, plays with them for hours. . . You get the idea, right?

She told me that the structure at the back right is called "Hotel for Otters."
I think that "Hotel for Dogs" may have been based loosely on this idea.
Jessa is such a visionary.
The color thingy is a robot (apparently with a 'do rag').
"To sneak up on the robot, the otter is staying on the green ring so it is camouflaged."
Her exact words. . .
The Easter Bunny brought them some new ones. (the suckers are only $1 for a bag of like 6 or 8 - she has expensive tastes, huh?) The other night she was taking a "relaxing" bath. (Yes, she is 5, but she sometimes requires a bubble bath with candles. Not sure why she needs to relax, but whatever.) She decided to put all of her little animals in the tub. She only had a few with her, so she beckoned me to bring her another sea lion. OK. I can do this, right? I have been to zoos. I have visited Sea World. I have college degrees, granted nothing in the natural sciences, but I can pick out a sea lion, right?
A few of the gang -
are the ones that were in need of a relaxing bath with her.

I first grabbed this:

I handed it to her, and even in the candle light, she immediately gave me an exasperated sigh and said, "Mommy, that is a walrus." I looked more closely, and she was of course, correct.

Then I grabbed this:

I handed it to her, and again, she looked up at me with sheer frustration and said, "Mommy, this is an otter." She was right again. Now I am wondering how many different animals were in that tiny bag and why am I so easily confused?

Finally I grabbed this:

And she was most pleased with it and told me "Thanks!"


Bless their hearts, how did they get stuck with such a dingbat for a mother??

Monday, April 20, 2009


What's up with that word?? Why is it the funniest word my children have ever heard - EVER.?

I mentioned in another post that when Jessa's class was working on the letter "t" that each time the teacher would ask them to tell her a "t" word, they all came up with toilet first. But the love for that word in this house started well before the letter "t" became a classroom discussion.

No matter how bad of a mood one of them is in, if the other one utters a silly, quiet "toilet," they both erupt into silly giggles and belly laughs. I guess it is just one of those words?

I have overheard many conversations between them that go something like this:
"Hello, Mr. Toilet."
"No, you are Mrs. Toilet!"
Hee-hee Ha-ha!

We can change the words of any song to include toilet. We can fit toilet into any conversation. I just do not get it. But I guess I cannot complain. On the scale of offensive words, it is not terribly so. It is an important part of every home, right? It is necessary and a part of every day. I guess I just do not find it as amusing as they do. Nor does it inspire me to sing. . .

I guess I am not cool like they are. . .

I will close with a new favorite phrase:

Oh my toilet!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A perfect day

Last weekend, we had lots of plans. Many scheduled events, and some things that we had to get done. It was the beginning of our Spring Break - yay sleeping in! Plus, David had a 4 day weekend for the Easter Holiday. (The army is good about that in places where you deploy a lot. They schedule extra days off during the year that you are home because nearly every other year you are not home.)

So Friday we had lots to do. It is our regular commissary day, plus David and Spencer were in need of a trip to the barber shop. And once Jessa was home from school, we had planned to drive to Savannah to eat supper and procure a new drinking fountain for our precious Stewart, as his is "hard broke." Busy day! (and we still had to order the fountain on-line when we got home!)

And then Saturday we had our last 2 egg hunts scheduled (oh, by the way, if anyone needs about 5,000 plastic eggs, let me know. . .). The first was at 10 AM to be followed by a little fun fair. This was crowded and nuts. It is a post wide egg hunt, so every child who has a parent stationed at Ft. Stewart was invited. Spencer refused because they do not allow parents to be near the children for fear the parents will get too competitive. And as much as you and I know that I would NEVER do anything but hold his hand, I guess the folks in charge don't know me that well. In Jessa's age group, she was happy to go hunt. But then ever so sad after some children pushed her, took eggs out of her basket, and even slapped her hand away from an egg! She ended up with a full basket anyway, and sweetly shared her eggs with her brother since his basket was empty.
On the way to Egg Hunt #1 - before Spencer was holding on to my leg and tossing his basket. . .

The fun fair had bounce houses, crafts, slides, snacks, and all kinds of fun. Spencer is not a fan of bounce houses. None of us are fans of the crazy long lines. Spencer did not wish to stay, so Jessa and I stuck it out alone while he and David headed home. Jessa was in extra kind mode and after she did the bunny hop race, she asked for two prizes . This was not allowed, so my precious girl stood in line and bunny hopped again to claim a prize in her brother! I was so proud!

We then had a neighborhood egg hunt. All the houses on our street hid eggs in their yards for all the kids on our street to find. They were really excited about this all day. David and I made them stay inside while we hid the eggs in our yard. They watched the window waiting for everyone to head out to meet in the middle. Once we got out there, Spencer started freaking out. He did not want people to hunt "our eggs." He wanted everyone to stay in their own yard and leave ours alone. I ha to take him inside several times to calm him down. We were 0 for 2 egg hunt wise! At least he enjoyed his class egg hunt, right? It is sort of my fault, I guess. I have always had mini-hunts in our yard for them to look for eggs. This is the first time other people were hunting at our house. . . Oh well! That was a long and crazy day that left us all exhausted and me terribly sun-burned. (Since I had children, I always worry about them and sunscreen and seem to forget me!)
Jessa the professional egg hunter and Spencer, pouting because people are taking OUR eggs!
We had been planning our Sunday for weeks. We watched the weather to pick the perfect day to head to the beach. Jessa is obsessed with the beach. If we ever watch a home movie from our trip to Hawaii, she disappears and then comes running in with her bathing suit on. She has been so anxious to go back to the beach since we are finally back near Jekyll Island again. We were pumped also because it was (as far as we know) Max's first beach trip ever.

The sun was shining, the sky was blue, BUT the wind was brutal. It had to be the most miserable day we have ever had at the beach. We had sand in our picnic, sand in our drinks, sand in our eyes. We could not spread out a towel because they blew away. Our shoes blew over, the dogs water blew away, MISERABLE! Plus, despite the 75 degree weather, we were FREEZING. Jessa ended up having a great time, though. She loves the beach unconditionally!! Her chin was quivering and she was covered in goose bumps, but she ran and played and swam. What a day. I am pretty sure my camera is ruined because the sand blew in it even when it was tucked away in a towel in a bag. What a mess!
Our windblown doggies
They had to keep their eyes closed as they ate their SANDwiches.
Spencer still had a pretty good time - until he got wet. . .
That is pure joy- she could have cared less that her lips were blue!
Then there was Monday. We had nothing planned. It was David's last day to sleep in without a 5:30 wake up for PT (one of the many reasons I am not in the army, who wants to have group exercise that early - not me!) We got up and started cleaning the house up. We had neglected it all weekend with all of our comings and goings. The kids were in great moods. We cleaned up each room together. Then David would come through with the vacuum. We had great talks while we were cleaning. Jessa would find any things that could be thrown away. Spencer was great at finding where things went. And the house looked great!

They helped me sort laundry and wash clothes. They played nicely together all day. The weather was rainy and dreary, so we never even took off our jommies. The kids ate a nice lunch together. They colored, they danced, they played some more. We even got cleaned up and went out to eat for supper, per our Monday tradition. We did not have to referee any fights or deal with any discord. A perfect day. . .

Drawing and enjoying a "dinner date," as they called it.
This may not have been the high point of the day for David,
but Jessa dressed them in matching gowns to dance together.
And I stopped and thought how funny it was that of the 4 days we were all together, this was by far the best one. The one day that we did not have anything special or out of the ordinary planned. The one day we did not do anything that would be considered "fun." I have said it before, but my favorite place to be is at home with my family! I guess this weekend just proved my point, huh?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Quiet now cobwebs. . .

After I became a Mommy, my Momma told me about this poem. I instantly loved it. It has become my mantra:

I hope my children look back on today,
And see a Mother who had time to play!
Children grow up while you’re not looking.
There’ll be years ahead for cleaning and cooking,
So quiet now cobwebs; dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby, and babies don’t keep.

Today it has special meaning to me.
To me, its message boils down to not taking anything for granted.

This whole blog world is sort of new to me. I always wander around and find blogs from the lists of blogs that other people have. It is in this way that I learned of a sweet little girl named Madeline Spohr. She had a tough little life from the start, and her parents lost her last week. I know that any given day so many children are lost, but for some reason, her story really moved me. I spent the weekend reading all of the archived posts by her mother, Heather. I swear, I feel like I know them, I guess that is one of the cool things about this whole blog Internet thing - you can be touched by people that you never meet.

I have had Maddie, Heather, and Mike on my mind all weekend. It is so unimaginable to me. I cannot fathom losing a child. My babies are my life, my purpose, my heart. I simply cannot comprehend what Maddie's parents are going through.

I can say that I have tried to enjoy every little moment with my two babies the past few days. Today is all we have. You never know what tomorrow will bring, so I guess you have to enjoy each day as it comes. You have to be thank God for each moment you are here and that you can spend with the ones you love.

I feel so thankful for all the blessings in my life. And I think the most remarkable thing about Maddie's mom and dad is that despite their overwhelming grief, they are simply thankful for Maddie's life. If you are interested in checking them out or learning about sweet Maddie,

God bless the Spohr family, especially Madeline.

Monday, April 13, 2009

ketchup - it goes with everything?

I was getting supper ready. It was lasagna. I do not make it that often because it is an all day kind of supper, you know? I cook the sauce in the morning so it can cook all day, then you have to assemble all the layers. Anyway, I was busy in the kitchen getting it all ready. I was also trying to make the salads and make the tea. You know, a crazed time in the kitchen trying to get supper ready. Spencer came in and opened the fridge and got out the ketchup. I watched him and waited to see what his plan was. He walked in to the dining room and put the ketchup on the table. I did not say anything because I figured when he saw what we were having, he would change his mind.

So supper is ready. We all go to sit down and eat. I fixed the kiddos plates first so that the lasagna could cool. And instead of salad, I always give them celery, carrots, and some ranch dressing for dipping. They are not big on lettuce, and I'll do anything to get them to eat some raw veggies, you know?

We all sat down, said the blessing, and were ready to dig in. Spencer reached for the ketchup. I tried to explain to him that ketchup does not really "go" with this supper. He was pretty convinced he wanted the ketchup. I decided, what the heck?! So I helped him put it on his plate, thinking that he would change his mind. I mean, I love ketchup. I even eat it on eggs, but I could not even imagine it with this meal. But, always one to choose my battles, I told myself that it is just sweet tomato sauce, right? And the lasagna was chock full of tomatoes and sauce, right?

Well, my hard-headed, culinary adventurous son dipped each forkful of lasagna into his ketchup. He made yummy noises the whole time. He dipped his carrots and celery into his ketchup, as well. He ate a great supper. Maybe not the way I would have imagined, but like I said, I pick my battles. And ANY time that my babies eat something decent, I put that in the "win" column.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Crafty Keys: Easter Eggs

Dyeing Easter eggs is messy. Frankly, it is not even that fun. To be honest, I do not even have a ton of fond egg dyeing memories from my childhood. But for some reason, I feel like it is my supreme Mommy duty to dye Easter eggs. Last year was the first year that I felt like they were both ready. We did it. They did enjoy it. So I decided to try it again. I tried to get clever and bought 2 new kinds. One was magic glitter eggs and the other was tye dye eggs - how can you tye dye a hard boiled egg you may ask? You can't. And frankly none of the eggs ended up looking remotely like the boxes. . .

My first gripe is this. These egg dye people are so helpful. They print all the instructions on the back of the box. How nice, right? These egg dye people are also efficient - the boxes can serve as egg holders to let them dry. The problem: the instructions are printed on the box where you punch out the holes to create the egg holder. Last year, I was so frustrated because I could not remember what to do when, and the instructions were all jumbled on the punched out circles. This year, I did make copies of the boxes with my scanner so that I could consult them throughout the process.

My second gripe was that only one box had the egg dipper holder thingy. This caused some trouble because there was waiting and turn taking involved. Not easy when you have 2 excited children!

The picture of impatience waiting in the dipper thngy
The glitter kit was iffy - we were supposed to have enough for a bunch of eggs, but it all get wet and clumpy. Oh well, we tried! Jessa claimed this kit and was disappointed that she could not do more eggs with it.
Not enough sparkles for more eggs. . .
Note the drying tray with incomplete instructions.
Tye Dyeing involved dyeing them one color and then dropping a few drops of another color on the already dyed egg. Then you rubbed the egg while it was in a bag. It worked out OK, I guess. Spencer enjoyed that part and did a good job.

They never actually looked tye dyed, but Spencer enjoyed the process!

I think this project was just OK. They were occupied, we were glad we did it, but I am not anxiously awaiting next year. . .

I saw a commercial the other day. You know the black and white ones where only the Rice Krispies are colored blue and it is a tender moment with a mommy or daddy and their children. Then the voice over lady says, "Childhood is calling." Well, this commercial had them making rice krispie treat eggs. Yum, right? So after the just OK egg dyeing day, I thought we'd try the new idea. Plus, wouldn't you rather eat rice krispies instead of pink hard boiled eggs?? I thought so.

We put the warm krispie and marshmallow mixture in plastic eggs - like a mold.
Then we dipped the ends in some melted chocolate.

Then we sprinkled the ends. Wow!

Molding the concoction into an egg and Jessa holding the molded treat

Dipping the ends in delicious melted chocolate

Adding sprinkles to our delicious, lovely eggs
This was way more fun! Our fingers were a little sticky, but they were still their natural color. I was not stressing about staining the army's house, and we got lots of delicious nibbles.

After the Crazy Key Family tried both, we if you are going to only do one Easter egg afternoon, I would recommend the updated version. It's not that I am against the old school dyeing method, but the rice krispies were more fun, less messy, and way more yummy!