Wednesday, August 31, 2011


I can't believe that an entire month has gone by since I took the pictures in this post. We spent most of August with family before Don left for OCS, but we started out our trip with a two-night stay in Baltimore Inner Harbor and it was lovely. This has become a favorite place of ours in the time we've lived in Maryland; we've taken Amy to the National Aquarium every year for her birthday. Since we wouldn't be doing that this year we decided to make our aquarium trip into a mini-vacation for just our little family before Don went away. We stayed in a very gracious hotel with an excellent view and enjoyed all the luxury that accompanied that, and splurged on a couple of very nice dinners out - something we rarely do. Add in our day at the aquarium and it was a perfect little trip.

A highlight for both kids was simply watching out the window from our room. We could look straight across the water to the aquarium. Amy stayed up late one night to see the city lights, and William simply loved watching the cars below, saying "vrrooooomm" all the while.

We took this blurry family portrait on a moving escalator at the aquarium...

And for the first time in our many visits there we saw the dolphin show. I was outside with a melting-down William for most of it, but Amy LOVED it, and she has cherished the pink dolphin we got her as a souvenir ever since. She also took this picture:

Oh, and I insisted that we take a picture of the four of us in front of our house before we left since we don't really know if we'll ALL be back here together again, and I simply wanted a record of "Us, Here."

So there we are. I'll be back with some more highlights of our August adventures, and any other interesting current events that pop up in the meantime.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Creepy-Crawlies and Other Things Taking Over My Yard

There is magic that happens in a garden when you leave for a few weeks. I swear, nothing grows with such enthusiasm as it does when no one is looking.

We have been growing Morning Glories in this yard every summer, and saving the seeds. So between the self-sowing and reseeding that we do, we have achieved (perhaps over-achieved) our goal of having morning glories everywhere. Oh my.

I couldn't even get the lawnmower out tonight because there is a vine wrapped all the way up the handle.

But really, I can't get enough... this is what the corner of the yard looked like when we got home around 5 pm last night... a little scary, right? I mean, the wind chimes have been swallowed whole.

But I step outside this morning and, well, wow. And the pictures really don't do them justice.

The vegetable garden is in there somewhere, but I haven't gotten to it yet. Today I focused on pulling out some spent sunflowers (seeds eaten and everything!), and deadheading the cannas. And in doing so I found this lady:

Now, in four summers here in the quasi-south my spider-creep-out threshold has increased dramatically but still, heebie-jeebies! that is one big spider. Of course I leave them be, because I am a good nature-girl and I know spiders are my friends and all that, and really, I have no desire to mess with a spider over 3" long. I think what creeps me out about the spiders in the yard is not only how many separate species of gigundo spider we've come across, but where are they when we don't see them...?

Anyway, on to a far less creepy creepy-crawly:

Thoughts? We did not plant this. I don't think we even ever ate anything like this. (We composted right on top of our gardens during the winter). This mystery squash-thing is like a large, flat, white, jack-be-little pumpkin. It's really cute... kinda looks like a flying saucer... I don't know whether to eat it or decorate with it, but hey, gotta love the volunteers.

Oh, and if you need a little music to go with this post, try this, a not-very-high-quality version of the song I get in my head every time I step out the backdoor in the morning. One of Don's and my first dates was a mini road trip to see these guys.... just about exactly seven years ago! Good times.

PS - Got a nice chatty letter from Don today, sounds like everything is just ducky, and he should get a chance to call this week or next!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Or I suppose back-blogged would be an even better term. I just unloaded 408 pictures and don't even know where to begin when it comes to catching up my kind little audience here on what we've been up to this month. I will get caught up, I promise. We are home now from a 3 week stint away so I will be getting back to my usual routine and as things settle out I'll get back on track here. In the meantime, can I tell you about my fabulous day?

First off, the only un-fabulous part: saying goodbye to my parents after 2+ weeks firmly entrenched at their house and enjoying every minute of it. Also un-fabulous because it is slightly possible that I'll never come back to that house in exactly the same way, as we are all hoping it sells in the next month or so. But that's another story. On to the good stuff, rapid-fire:

- A smooth and safe drive back to Maryland with my two little passengers who are so very good and patient on long car rides.

- Slipping down I-95 before any earthquake nonsense. I don't know if it ended up causing traffic problems around Baltimore or DC, but I didn't find any. Phew.

- A church sign reading: "Life forecast: God reigns and the Son Shines." I'm sure it's been said before but it was one of those things that hit me at exactly the right moment, and all was well.

- The ice cream truck that pulled up just after we pulled into the driveway, AND having cash in my pocket (thanks, Mom!) to get the hugest, tastiest ice cream sandwich any of us have had in a long time.

- Huge gratitude to my pre-vacation self, who busted her hump cleaning the whole house before we left, and huge gratitude to my cat-sitter who kept up the house so nicely that I had very little of that post-vacation flurry of cleaning to do upon walking in the door. Incidentally, paying someone $16 a day to watch your cats is totally worth it just for that.

- There wasn't much in the fridge, but there was a bottle of Blue Moon. And fixings for grilled cheese. Need to hit the grocery store tomorrow but I don't even know where to start...

- Amy remembered what I told her about our "new" bedtime routine, and all on her own she picked out books for me to read to William so I could get him to sleep first. That part didn't quite work out, but it was a super-sweet bedtime with both kiddos anyway.

- Best of all, a surprise 6 pm call from... Don!! It was brief, but it was wonderful.

Okay, there is much else to do around here before I crash for the night. More from me in the coming days!!

Thursday, August 11, 2011


I know, I know, I have been falling way behind in blog-land. There has been so much I'd like to share: so many pictures taken, so many fun adventures, so many memories packed into a very short amount of time. However, all those good things make for less time for twiddling away at the computer (not a bad thing). And for the last two months I have quite simply felt that my head is a little too full of "big" stuff to say much of anything interesting about the "mid-level" stuff that I prefer to write about here.

Today was Don's first day of Officer Candidate School. He left yesterday, and reported this morning. I probably won't hear from him for a few weeks, at least. I'm actually feeling pretty relieved and a lot more relaxed than I have felt for much of the last two months; it is good to finally have this whole thing underway, and not just looming. Now already, it is no longer "17 weeks" away; we've got one day down and the count stands at a reasonable (as long as I don't think too hard about it) one-hundred and eighteen days until graduation.

Don has been on leave since the 15th of July, so in almost a full month off we have had some serious fun as a family. Lots of time at home, a great little side trip to Baltimore Inner Harbor complete with fancy hotel stay. All capped off with a week visiting our parents. I'll probably revisit some of the highlights from all this later in the month once we're settled again... so stay tuned for that.

But for now the kids and I are hanging out with my folks and enjoying a nice easy transition to this next phase. I miss my husband like crazy, and ache for what he's missing of the kids, but otherwise I have a hard time letting myself get too worked up over this right now because it is ALL good. Huge career recognition and advancement, greatly improved family finances, a move in a few months - all very good. And we're no strangers to time apart. Don's night at MEPS before reporting to boot camp was the first night of our young marriage that we had ever spent away from each other, but since then there have been all kinds of separations - big and little - and we've come to learn that no matter what we can always pick up right where we left off and continue on our merry way.

So, it's all good.

Anyway, that's just a snippit of what's been on my mind these days and because I really don't like dwelling on this kind of stuff here I shall wrap up for tonight, promise more pictures (and probably some more chatty thoughts) in the coming weeks, and we'll go from there.

Semper Paratus!