Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Road Trips for children

When you are little, you cannot wait to grow up.  Being a kid seems like such a bummer, right?  Grown-ups are always trying to boss you around and tell you what to do.  You don't get to be in charge of what you want to do, where you want to go, or anything.  I can remember that feeling very well.  I could not wait to be "big enough to ________ (fill in the blank)."

I would venture to say that most adults have moments where we wish we could be children again.  Probably because as grown-ups, we are very aware of how good kids have it.  Maybe they don't "get" to do whatever they want, but they also don't experience worry or stress or even planning things.  And I know I am not the only one who would give my eye teeth to have someone MAKE me take a nap any day of the week.  Are you with me??

Well, I recently came to the realization that road trips are one area where kids have it pretty darn easy - at least my kids do, anyway.

Here is a breakdown of the preparations for one of one of our recent road trips.
First, take a look at what Spencer was doing while I got up early to pack, load, and get us ready to
head back to IL.

And Jessa Lynn:

Here are the toiletries that I packed for all of us. 

The Nintendo DS that I charged.  Well, actually, I charged 2.

The computers that I packed up - after locating the adapters that were scattered all over the house.

Just a reminder, here is what Jessa and Spencer were doing while all of this was going on.

While they snooze away, their suitcases are magically packed. . .

I also had to pack for Julie, the American Girl.

And there was the cooler, with drinks for our trip, it had to be packed, too.

Then I packed a snack bags for each kiddo.
I try to have plenty to eat and drink, so we can make the fewest number of stops possible

I usually let them start off the long day in the car still wearing their jommies.  BUT most of the time, they want to change at some point on the road (OK, fine, so it is me that is embarrassed to go traipsing into gas stations all over the country with my kids still in their PJs).  It doesn't matter whose idea it really is, I also pack a change of clothes for each child.

Oh, and also, guess what the kiddos were doing at this point in the process?

And I cannot forget to pack my own suitcase, right?

 Then the car must be loaded with all of the aforementioned things that I have gathered.

 And then children themselves must also be loaded.

David carried one,
and Bay carried the other.
 And then the precious angels can be tucked in for a nice long trip complete with their luggage, their snacks, their drinks, Jessa's DS, Spencer's DS, their computers, their toys, their blankets, their pillow pets, their change of clothes, their movies, and about anything else that I might need for a 9 hour trip.

 Oh wait, what about these guys?
They have to go, too.
And they have pillows and a water bowl and leashes. . .

So it makes sense that I might at times want to take a road trip as a child.
Or maybe I should be more specific, I want to go on a road trip as one of my children.
Heck, I wouldn't even mind traveling as one of my dogs!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Almost Wordless Wednesday

(OK, not even close to wordless, but it is Wednesday. . .) 
When I decorated for Christmas, I added one of my favorite vinyl tablecloths to the kitchen table.
The kids were wearing their new Christmas jommies.
They were alone in the kitchen.
I heard giggles and the words "look, we're camouflaged!"

They were kind of right.
At least I think so, anyway.
Well, you be the judge.

 Here is the table before:

To be clear, this is the picture WITHOUT the little children in it.

Here is after -
can you find the two sweet children in this picture?

See, they are camouflaged!

Merry Christmas from the camo kids!

Monday, December 5, 2011

I'm not ready

Just now, my sweet 8 year old baby girl asked me a question.  See, she has several little buddies.  She calls them her BFFs (which totally cracks me up).  And she has even had sleepovers with one of these BFFs a few times.  Her first sleepover was pretty tough to handle.  That is something that big girls do, right??  You mean, I have a big girl?  How did this happen?  She was little.  She drank from bottles.  And now she is giggling in sleeping bags watching movies and eating popcorn?

Well, today, we had another big first.
She walked in holding the phone in her hand and said, "Mom, can I call _______?"  And I said, "For what?"  And she said, "I don't know, just to talk."

And so it begins.  I remember spending HOURS on the phone every single day of my life.  I remember when we used to spend all day at school together, and then we'd hurry home to talk some more.  I got my own phone line on my 12th birthday because we were not in an area that had call waiting yet.  Ah, the phone.

Well, let's give it up for my over achiever.
Chatting with her BFF on the phone at age 8.

When she is a teenager, boy, are we in trouble.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Computer Savvy?

Our children are growing up with so much technology at their fingertips.  I can remember floppy disks that were actually floppy.  I did not get an e-mail address until my senior year of college, and to be honest, I didn't really understand it even then.  I have mentioned before the my children have had net books of their own for more than 2 years.  They can figure things out more quickly than I ever could.  They are just so much more technologically advanced.  I mean, I had a Walkman that just played the radio when I was Jessa's age, and that kid has an ipod!  I didn't even get a CD player until college.  You get the point, right?  I am ancient, and my children are spoiled.

BUT all that technology cannot change my sweet daughter from being a very literal child.

Whenever they want to play on a website that requires an account and password to log in, I always register them.  I make sure that only I know the password.  I don't want them to have too much freedom, right?  So there are times that they are in desperate need to play a game that I am busy.  So we have moments of impatience as Jessa and even Spencer have to wait on me to log them into their game.  Jessa finds this terribly frustrating.  She is always looking for a way to speed things up.

The other day I found a piece of paper where my too clever and way too literal daughter had jotted down the password to a website.  At first I did not understand why she wrote it down - it did not make sense.  But I kept looking at it, and then David saw it.  We both got so tickled as we realized what she had done.

You know how sometimes it matters if you have caps lock on?  Sometimes the logins and passwords have certain letters capitalized?  And you need to pay attention to this or you will be denied access?  Like Dana is correct, but dana is not? 

Are you with me?
Do you get it?

Well, I better just show you her scrap of paper so you can see for yourself:

Sometimes "clever" and "literal" don't mix. . .

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Jessa sure is lucky to have a Mimi that shares her salad. . .

Monday, October 3, 2011

Birthdays in heaven

On September 26, 1929, my wonderful grandfather was born.  It is one of the best days to ever happen because it brought him into the world to eventually be my Poppy.  This September 26 was the first birthday that we have had since his death.  In fact, it was 3 months and 1 day since we lost him.

This concerned Jessa and Spencer both a lot.  They had many questions.  Will he get to celebrate his birthday?  Will he get to eat cake?  What if we want to get him a present?  What if we want to send him a card?  As always, I was touched and challenged by their many questions.  I told them that he would have a wonderful birthday in heaven with Jesus and all of his friends and family.  But they were still sad.  They wanted to be able to make him a card.  So I thought quickly and suggested that we make him cards and send them to heaven.

The day came last week.
When they got home from school, they both got right to work making him the perfect card.  The cards were both so sweet AND so different. 
Jessa is a little older, and she thinks a little more deeply. 
Here was her card:

Spencer is just as sweet, but a little more simple at this point.
Here was his:

Once we were finished, we shed a few tears together.  Then we rolled up the cards into small little scrolls.  And we headed to the florist shop on base.  They were so patient with us and so nice.  They had some trouble getting the scrolls into the balloons.  But they worked at it and got them both safely into the balloon.  They filled them with helium, and we were ready to go.

We headed home to release our balloons so they would go straight to Poppy in heaven. 
It was a beautiful, if windy day - perfect conditions for our launch.

It was a small tribute that we all shared together. 

David, Jessa, Spencer, and I had our own little party on earth celebrating one of the best people we all know in heaven.

Happy Birthday Poppy!
We miss you.

Friday, September 30, 2011

14 years ago today. . .

. . .standing on a bridge at the top of a waterfall in North Georgia,
I said YES!
Amicalola Falls
Happy Engagement Day, D!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Almost Wordless Wednesday

We got Molly a new bed. 
I think she likes it.
 Well, maybe not the pillow part. . .

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Almost Wordless Wednesday

7:00 PM
Friday Night
After the first week of Kindergarten.
Poor Baby.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


We were in Germany.  David was at work.  At the time, he worked in downtown Mannheim and he wore civilian clothes.  He was the only American Military person who worked in his office.  I was at home in our stairwell apartment.  We lived on the second floor.  Our housing area was open.  And we did not have to show an ID to enter.  There were no guards at the gate.  There was no gate. 

I loved the time difference because I could watch the Today show live broadcast on AFN (the Armed Forces Network), but it didn't start until 1 o'clock in the afternoon.  It was a normal, beautiful Tuesday afternoon in Germany.

Katie Couric interrupted a story to inform us that a plane had hit one of the towers of the World Trade Center.  I thought, just like everyone that someone must have fallen asleep of had a heart attack.  It was sad, sure.  I was a tragedy, of course.  But it had to be an accident, right?

They changed the course of the show and began broadcasting live views of the tower that had been hit.  There was smoke.  And everyone was speculating about what could have happened.  As the talked, the screen was still on the live shot.  I was still watching when the second plane came into view and hit the second tower.  At that point, like everyone else in the world, I knew this was big.  I called David.  I called Momma.  And my best friend Tonya came straight to my apartment.  And along with a friend of hers from home, we were glued to the television all day and all night.  Pretty quickly, the American Military switched our security status to Delta.  This hadn't happened since David commissioned.  They started closing the streets to protect us.  There was even  brief talk of evacuating dependents.  We had no idea what was going to happen next.

In the days that followed, I was in awe of the outpouring of support that the Germans.  They placed candles and flowers at the edges of the post, at the newly formed gates.  They had services of remembrance.  They were truly heartbroken for all Americans that day.  And while I missed being on American soil with my fellow Americans, we were safe in Mannheim with our wonderful German friends and neighbors. 

I will never forget how it felt.  I will never forget the images that I could not stop watching flash across my television screen all day and all night from more than 4,000 miles away.  Or being in the post chapel holding candles with all of the other Americans who were with us in Germany.  The feelings of helplessness and sadness and grief and fear and anger that were mixed with pride and patriotism and adoration of all of the heroes that emerged.

And I will always be so grateful to our men and women in uniform who have been fighting back ever since. 

Below is a copy of the text of the address that President Bush gave on September 11, 2001.  In my opinion, these words capture the feelings that we all felt on that day; the feelings that we all still feel today, 10 years later.  May God Bless everyone affected by the horrible acts of September 11.  May God Bless all our military who continue to protect us and our freedoms.  And may God Bless America.

Good evening.

Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts. The victims were in airplanes or in their offices: secretaries, business men and women, military and federal workers, moms and dads, friends and neighbors. Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror. The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge -- huge structures collapsing have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness, and a quiet, unyielding anger. These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed. Our country is strong.

A great people has been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve. America was targeted for attack because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining. Today, our nation saw evil -- the very worst of human nature -- and we responded with the best of America. With the daring of our rescue workers, with the caring for strangers and neighbors who came to give blood and help in any way they could.

Immediately following the first attack, I implemented our government's emergency response plans. Our military is powerful, and it's prepared. Our emergency teams are working in New York City and Washington D.C. to help with local rescue efforts. Our first priority is to get help to those who have been injured, and to take every precaution to protect our citizens at home and around the world from further attacks. The functions of our government continue without interruption. Federal agencies in Washington which had to be evacuated today are reopening for essential personnel tonight and will be open for business tomorrow. Our financial institutions remain strong, and the American economy will be open for business as well.

The search is underway for those who were behind these evil acts. I have directed the full resources of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and to bring them to justice. We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.

Tonight, I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened. And I pray they will be comforted by a Power greater than any of us, spoken through the ages in Psalm 23:

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil for you are with me.

This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time. None of us will ever forget this day, yet we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.

Thank you. Good night. And God bless America.