Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Decade in Review

December 30, 2005

On December 31, 1999, we rang in a new millennium.  I celebrated this historic event at a huge LDS singles dance.  I went with a group of friends, including one really cute boy with bright blue eyes named Dan.  My friend told me she thought Dan might have a crush on me.  I was surprised at how happy that idea made me.

December 30, 2000 - Dan and I were sealed for time and all eternity in the Washington D.C. Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Temperature for pictures: 17 degrees. We didn't care.  At least the blizzard missed us.

December 30, 2001 - We attended the rehearsal dinner for Uncle Bob and Aunt Ro's wedding. Dan taught cousin Rachel (age 4) to touch her nose with her tongue.  A proud moment for all.

December 30, 2002 - We had a four-week-old baby.  We were tired.  But happy.

December 30, 2003 - We left one-year-old Jake and the dog overnight for the first time.  We saw Mama Mia at the National Theater.  Oh, and did I mention I was three months pregnant? Our family was growing fast - as was my belly.

December 30, 2004 - We were settling into our new home in Cape Cod, MA with two little boys.  We ate dinner out somewhere.  With two little boys.

December 30, 2005 - We said goodbye to our Cape Cod home by cleaning, turning in our key, and visiting Dan's ship in dry dock.

December 30, 2006 - We left two little boys with their grandparents, great-grandparents, aunt, and uncle.  We went out with their other grandparents, aunts, and uncles.  We got mocked for our young age on our sixth anniversary.  It was worth it for the special desert.

December 30, 2007 - We were settling into our new home in VA.  "The Seven Year Itch" was on television.  We watched.  We decided our marriage would make it as long as Marilyn Monroe doesn't show up.

December 30, 2008 - We hung out at home.  We were happy to spend time together as a family.  We knew we wouldn't have much of that kind of time for quite a while.

December 30, 2009 - Dan is in Iraq.  I'm in VA.  We're far apart.  But in love.  And that's really what matters most.

This has been a good decade.  I married the man of my dreams.  We both graduated college. We had two incredibly handsome and brilliant sons, and adopted an incredibly beautiful and neurotic dog.  We moved nine times.  We've begun the adventure of a lifetime, and it's been a great one.  Can't wait to see what the next years bring!

P.S. For next year's anniversary (ten years!), I expect a trip with my husband.  Without kids. You can let him know I said that.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Max and Mayo

Mandisa has a best friend.  His name is Max and he lives next door.  He came to stay with us the weekend before Christmas and the two of them had a wonderful time together.  He taught her to stick her head in the dishwasher.  She taught him to frolic in the snow (Max is from Arizona).  A good time was had by all.  And now that he is back home, well, Mayo is moping.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Thanks, Santa!

Santa was very good to us this year.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

May we all feel His love on this very special day.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Blizzard of '09

Day 1:
It snowed all day Saturday.  By the time we went to bed we had about two feet of snow! Remember, this is Virginia.  This is Virginia in December.  This is unheard of!  And pretty much the best thing ever.

Day 2:
Please excuse my poor snowman-building skills.  I've never been very good at the art.  But my boys thought our snowman was the greatest one since Frosty himself.  The dogs were incredibly wary of the strange man lurking around our house.

Day 3:
When you're out playing and get hungry, just snack on the snow.  It sure beats the hassle of stripping off the wet clothes so Mommy will let you in the house.  Our diet for the last few days has definitely been heavy on the snow and hot chocolate categories.

Day 4:
Some people think they're really clever.  Yes, I did get hit by that (well-aimed) snowball.  And yes, I did get him back!

Day 5:
We have really great friends and neighbors, who dug us out.  We have a pretty pitiful county who did not plow us.  There were plows.  I saw two go by yesterday.  But they weren't actually plowing.  Just driving along on top of the foot of snow left on the street.

On Day 5, we ventured out.  I would have been perfectly content to stay snowed in for several more weeks, but there's a little holiday called Christmas coming up pretty soon.  And Santa already stowed his gifts at the great-grandparents' house...

Posted from the great-grandparents' house.  That's right, we made it!

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Angels Did Sing

We went to our Ward Christmas Party on Friday evening.  It was supposed to be two weeks ago, but got snowed out.  Somebody (it was the Bishop) was listening to the Spirit when he rescheduled for Friday instead of Saturday.  By the time we left the party Friday the snow was falling hard.  Had we rescheduled for Saturday...  well, that just wouldn't have worked.

To be perfectly honest, I had a really bad attitude about the party.  I just wasn't feeling it.  My children were being hoodlums, I was tired and thinking about the fact that I probably wouldn't be able to get up my obnoxiously steep driveway in the snow, and I just wanted to go home and wallow is self pity.  Especially when two other deployed husbands skyped in to read the Christmas story to us.  My deployed husband can't skype.  Bummer.

But then.  Then the children got up to sing.  My little hoodlums (and I'm not using that term loosely here - they really were terrible!) got up to sing.  And you know what?  As the little angels (again, not loosely - they really were angels) sang "The First Noel" I was hit by the Christmas Spirit.  I remembered why we were there.  We were celebrating the birth of Christ. Our Savior.  We were celebrating His love for us, and our love for Him. 

And you know what?  It's okay that my children went right back to their hoodlum ways immediately following the song.  And it' s okay that my car is still in the neighbors' driveway because we slid sideways down ours that night.  And it's okay that my husband can't skype.  God loves me so much that He sent His Son.  A little boy like mine.

And I feel so blessed to spend this season celebrating His birth.  With my hoodlums and my steep driveway.

PS.  I want you all to notice the children's costumes.  Forget the traditional towels draped over their heads.  Yes, there were plenty of those, but my children chose to wear what their Daddy wears in that part of the world.  And I bet you didn't know that Cleopatra came to the First Christmas, now did you?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Cam and the Cow

I have a lot to say; thoughts I've been stewing over for some time now.  But they're not coming out into words.  Seriously, I know it's hard to believe since I usually have trouble shutting up, but this time the words just aren't coming.  Hopefully it'll happen soon.

But I couldn't wait any longer to share my favorite photo from the Kindergator trip to the Children's Museum.  We had a great time, and Camden learned that milking a cow is a little tougher than it looks!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Decking the Halls

Camden loves to decorate for Christmas.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Easy Party, Troubled Mayo

Yesterday, right smack dab in the middle of our first snowstorm of the season, seven little boys descended upon my home.  They were expecting a party.  So I obliged.

I handed everyone a long skinny balloon "light saber" and set them lose on each other.  Easiest party ever (though I think my hearing has suffered irreparable damage).  The boys had a blast, I wasn't stressed, and Mayo...

Well, Mayo may not have enjoyed it as much as the rest of us.  She just can't understand why I don't control those puppies like [she thinks] I should!

I think I redeemed myself a tad when the seven little boys left and I asked her to clean up the floor under the cake table.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

It worked!

Last night we went to bed like this...

... so that today it would do this!

Editor's note: We probably didn't need to do the pajama trick, since we had Jake's birthday party scheduled for today.  It always snows on Jake's birthday party.  We do it on purpose to find out who loves us enough to brave the snowy roads!  (Everybody came!  Wow, we're popular!)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Poor FIrefighter Mark

Firefighter Mark: "This camera lets us see in the dark.  It uses heat to make the picture.  See, your mom is hot."

Poor Firefighter Mark.  Jake asked why his face got all red.

Personally, I'm hoping Firefighter Mark remembers that line and pulls it out in a more appropriate situation.  I'm thinking it could definitely work for him.  Just maybe not the "your mom" part...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


This morning Camden woke up really excited - and really early.  He was ready for birthday presents!  For his brother.

That's right!  It's Jake's birthday!

I sure do love this kid.  Seven years ago he changed my life.  No longer was I Jen.  I became, in one moment, Mom.  For that, I am so grateful.

He is kind and compassionate.  He is honest.  He is a hard worker who always does his very best. He's an artist.  He's passionate and feels things deeply.  He is wild and busy.  He is loud. He is Jake!

Happy Birthday Seven-Year-Old!  I love you!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving, Day 2

On the second day of Thanksgiving,
I am thankful for extra pillows
that my children can sleep through

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving, Day 1

On this first day of Thanksgiving
(yes, around here we celebrate twice),
I am thankful for uncles.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Did you know...

... that I take pictures?

I fell in love with the camera as a sophomore in high school, when I took a photography class simply to fill an elective.  It was one of the best things I ever did!

So, here we are, fourteen years later, and it's time to unveil my new photography blog.  Just a space to post some of my photos.  Enjoy!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Best Laid Plans

When one becomes sick or hurt, the most effective place to recover is on Bubby and Poppa's bed.  Just so you know.

Our Saturday Plans included lunch and a photo shoot with the family of one of my oldest friends, baths and lounging at Bubby and Poppa's house, and a fun-filled evening of dinner and a show with the family.  In my humble opinion, a pretty close to perfect Saturday!

Our Saturday Reality included lunch and a photo shoot with the family of one of my oldest friends, a tumble on the playground during said photo shoot, a trip to the ER where we got a CT scan of the five-year-old's head, and a diagnosis of swelling but no bleeding in that cute little noggin.  Followed by happy meals and a movie on Bubby and Poppa's bed.

I'm thinking we probably should have stuck with plan A.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Why We Were Tired

We spent Sunday evening with friends.  Some of whom left Monday morning for Germany.  To live there.  We had a wonderful evening, with lots of chatting and laughing for the grownups and lots of running and blasting for the younger crowd.  Followed by tearful goodbyes.  Tears that, for more than one six-year-old, lasted well into the night.  And that's why we were tired on Monday.

So we planned on getting to bed right on time on Monday.  And things were going perfectly. Right on schedule.  Until Mike showed up at our door right as we were heading up the stairs for bed.  Mike was one of Dan's seminary students.  Now he's got a wife and a cute little girl.  So he makes me feel old.  But we like him a lot, so we stayed up and visited.  And that's why we were tired on Tuesday.

Finally, on Tuesday, I got some boys into bed right on time.  But me?  Well, we got new furniture for the family room last week, and the yellow walls just had to go.  So I painted.  And painted.  It's not quite done, so you'll have to wait a while longer for the after pics.  That's why the boys felt great and I was tired on Wednesday.

But as we all well know, there's no rest for the weary.  So I dragged my tired little (okay, not so little) bum out of bed and into the kitchen on Wednesday.  I hosted the Teacher Dinner at Gatorland, the culmination of weeks of planning, days of shopping and cooking, and hours of setting up, serving, and cleaning.  It was worth it to thank our teachers.  I think.  And that's why we were tired on Thursday.

Today I had a nice long to-do list.  But by the end of the day there were no little checks on it.  That's right, other than a quick ego-boost in kindergarten (I wore pink, and apparently that makes one beautiful to five-year-old girls), I did absolutely nothing today.  It was nice.

But that to-do list will be waiting for me tomorrow.  And it's time to break the cycle.  Good night!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I am 29 years old and I am going gray.  Really, I have more than my fair share of gray hairs already.  I'd like to blame it on genetics - my great-grandmother had gone completely white well before she hit 29.  But I don't think genetics is the answer in this case.  No, I blame my five year old.

Camden is a wild man.  He is also sweet and loving and fun.

I believe that the Lord gives us prompting - even warnings - through the Spirit.  And I believe He's been giving me some pretty strong warnings about this boy for quite some time.  As in, since he was a newborn.  I've known since Camden was born that, despite the fact that he was my quiet, calm, easy baby (the complete opposite of his brother), I was going to have to be very careful and protective of him.

See, I have nightmares.  Not the kind of nightmares you have after watching a scary movie (I don't do that) or telling ghost stories by the campfire (I'd rather sing silly songs).  No, I have very powerful nightmares, and they are always about Camden.

When he was tiny I used to have dreams of him disappearing from his crib.  I'd go to check on him in the middle of the night and instead of my sweet baby I would be greeted by a scary adult hand coming out of the crib to grab at me.  Or I would hear him crying and I would get up to go take care of him.  Only he wouldn't be in his crib, the cries would be coming from the basement.  And I would know, as I got to the top of the stairs, that somebody had him down there, and I was alone, and if I went down they would hurt me and then I wouldn't be able to save my baby.  Or even let anyone know he was in danger.  I spent many sleepless nights, even after he started sleeping through the night, just watching my baby sleep.  Because those dreams were so scary.

It's been a few years since I last dreamed about Camden being harmed.  But last night my Camden nightmares came back.  Last night, in my dream, I watched him fall two stories to the concrete floor below.  Thankfully, I woke up as I was running to where he would have landed, so at least I was spared the image of my little boy on the ground after that fall.  It was terrible enough as it was.

I can't help but wonder, what does this all mean?  Why do I dream such horrible things about my sweet little boy?  And it's not because I'm a crazy, paranoid parent (I hope!).  Have I ever dreamed that Jake was in danger?  No, not once.  But Camden, all the time.

I think I am being warned.  He is a special little boy.  He is smart and cute and has incredible energy and charisma.  I have no doubt that he is going to go very far in life.  But he is fearless.  He thinks the crime is worth the punishment.  He doesn't believe me when I tell him something is dangerous or will hurt.  He'd rather discover those things for himself.  And I have to watch him like a hawk.  Because he is a great kid and will be a great man.  As long as I can get him safely to adulthood.

Sometimes I worry that I won't be up to the task.  But as much as I hate having nightmares about my baby, I also have to give thanks for them.  As scary as it is to wake up convinced that my little boy just fell two stories, I am grateful that it didn't really happen.  And I am grateful for the warnings I receive, as his mother, to watch and care for this special little boy.  I know that because of these dreams I pay more attention and am more careful to watch and to teach him to watch for danger.

I just wish these warnings would be a little less stressful for me.  My hair can't take it.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Positive Spin

Tonight, at his soccer team's end-of-season party, Camden got the "Winning Spirit Award."

Because whenever the other team would score, he did this.

P.S.  Yes, Camden is picking his nose while receiving his award and trophy.  There were other "better" shots, but I liked this one, myself.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Trick-or-Treat! Halloween!

We sure did have a fun time this Halloween!  Granny and Poppy came to cheer on our morning soccer games and then we headed off to fill our candy buckets.

First stop, Trunk-or-Treat with all our best buddies in the church parking lot.

Jake and Grant have got to be the cutest clone troopers I've ever seen.  I dare you to disagree.

Camden was much more interested in the hot dogs than the candy.  So while the rest of the kids gorged on their candy, Cam found himself a quiet spot to enjoy his dog.  Sometimes I wonder who's child he really is.

Upon finishing the hot dog, Camden promptly disappeared.  And I mean, he was GONE.  As in, after a solid 15 minutes of an all out search this mommy was getting pretty panicky.  And then a little voice called out from a tree...  That's right, he'd been in a tree.  Seems Anakin is pretty great at camouflage.  Brown jedi clothes + brown leaves = Panicked Mommy.

So, we found the young Skywalker and headed home to get ready for round two.

Jake was astonished (and a bit ticked) at the number of other Star Wars characters we ran into in our neighborhood.  Apparently he thought his costume choice was really original.  I couldn't bring myself to explain to him that his costume choice has been overused every year since before his parents were born.

At the end of almost two hours of trick-or-treating in the rain with a group of very excited little boys, we came home to inspect the goods.

Now, boys are at school and I'm home alone with the candy.  This could be fun...

Monday, October 26, 2009


I don't like fast food.  But today was the grand opening of the brand new McDonalds - the one we've been watching construction on for several months.  And my boys were so excited.  So what did we do for Family Home Evening (instead of carving pumpkins)?  You guessed it!  We walked to Micky-D's and ate junk.  Along with everybody else in town.

Was it yummy?  Nope.
Was the service good?  Nope.
Do I have a belly-ache? Yep.

But most importantly...
Was it worth it?  You bet!
(Seriously, do you see those happy faces?)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Honor thy father and thy mother...

Bob (that's my mom) told me to update my blog.  So I guess I'd better do it.

So what have we been up to in the past week and a half?  Well, after the puking stopped...

Jake lost another tooth.  I think he looks pretty goofy.

Camden lost scissor privileges.

I did three photo shoots.  Cute kids, beautiful teens, happy wedding!

We decorated for fall.  Tomorrow those pumpkins become jacks!

I got a new dress.  I love it.  I also love Cam's artistic photography skills.
Or maybe he was dropping the camera.

Oh, and there was soccer.  Lots of soccer.  And PTO.  Lots of PTO.  You get the idea.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Lesson Learned

It is NOT a good idea - no matter how tired you are - to leave the clean laundry in the basket instead of putting it away.  You never know who might puke all over it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Perfect Day

I sure do love spending time with these two funny little people.

Today was a good day.  Complete with perfect fall weather, a fun fall festival, pumpkins and pumpkin muffins, and snuggling under blankets to watch some good ol' Charlie Brown.  Oh, and two funny little boys.  Best part. 

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Have I ever mentioned that I really miss my kiddos while they're at school all day?  Well, I do. But not today!

No, it's not because they were so naughty last night that getting rid of them this morning was a pleasure...  What could possibly give you that idea?

Really, I didn't miss them today (well, at least not Jake) because I was with Jake all day!  We went - with all the first gators - to a working dairy farm today.  And when I say working dairy farm, I mean working dairy farm.  None of this cutesy pet the cow, pet the goat, here's a pumpkin type of stuff (though all that was present - and enjoyed - as well).  No, we were there with the cows.  We learned about the cows and how a dairy farm operates, we made - and ate - butter from their milk (yummy!), and yes, we smelled 'em, too!

It really was a great day.  Now we've got to find a time to get back out there with Camden in tow.  Because he will love it!  But until then, we'll have to be content to drink lots of milk. Because now we've met the cows that supply our local Bloom.  And really, how cool is that?!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Anybody who doesn't think going to school is an enlightening experience should have been there with me today.  Because I have to say, I learned a lot!

I learned that Jake made his teacher nearly piddle in her pants the other day when it was his turn to tell the class a little about himself and his family.  Apparently he shared his "how I named my grandparents" story (it is cute, but he must have put a lot of expression into it to make it so funny).  Then he went on to talk about his dog, who "is supposed to hunt lions but she doesn't know how to because she's never been to the zoo."

Jake's teacher thinks he's a very bright boy. Yeah, that's one word for it.

I learned that Camden is, for lack of a better word, very observant.  As I was sitting with him at lunch today, he got very excited and pointed my attention to another kindergarten class. "Mommy, see that girl in the green shirt?"  "Yes.  Do you know her?"  "No.  She's pretty."  He then didn't take his eyes off the pretty little girl (he was right, she was pretty) until she left the room.

So now I know what my boys do at school.  Jake works on his comedy routine while Camden scopes out the girls.


Saturday, October 3, 2009


This has been one of those days.  Full of highs and lows, and really not much in between...

HIGH: Camden is taking care of the kindergarten class pet this weekend.  Thank goodness said pet is a stuffed teddy bear because...

LOW: Honey Bear was MIA for a good part of the afternoon.  And since Honey Bear had been at the soccer field for the morning, let's just say the Mommy was starting to feel just a tad bit panicky.

HIGH: We found the bear!  He was behind the couch.  Silly bear.

LOW: Meltdowns due to some seriously tired boys.  And when I say "meltdowns" I mean meltdowns!

HIGH: The workout I got while dragging two melting boys through the neighborhood.  I'm gonna be sore tomorrow!



So that's one more HIGH than LOW.  I guess that means it was a good day!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

What I've Not Yet Shared.

It's October!  It's my very favorite month!  So in honor of this most wonderful time of year, I'll be making my favorite pumpkin chili for dinner.  And I'll finally be sharing a really great story...

Remember how I said soccer is taking over our lives?  Well, it's pretty much the truth.  We spend a lot of time out at the soccer fields.  And this story - like everything in my life right now - takes place at, you guessed it, the soccer field.  Dun dun dun...

Camden was playing a soccer game, tearing up the field, scoring left and right (really, it's true), when Jake appeared by my side in great distress.  Two girls were calling him names on the playground.  Being the compassionate mother that I am I told him - in between cheers for those Tigers - that he could stay by me and watch his brother play or he could go back to the playground and deal with it like a man (okay, I didn't exactly say the "like a man" part, but he got my drift).  He chose to be a man.

Unfortunately, he took my "be a man" advice a little too far.  No sooner had he run off and I turned back to the game than I noticed a commotion over at the playground.  It was Jake beating up on some boy!  My sweet little Jake!  Yeah, that was quite a shock.

I ran, I pried, and eventually I got the six-year-old off of the much bigger kid.  He was steaming mad.  Seriously, I saw the steam.

Apparently, he had gone back to the playground and confronted the girls about their name-calling.  One of the girls had a big brother.  A big brother who decided to step up and deal with the bratty little kid who was mad at his sister.  And I guess the big boy getting involved was just the straw that broke the camel's back.  It was all too much for Jake and he hauled off and went after that kid.  Never mind the size difference.  Never mind the fact that Jake's never hit anyone other than his brother (not very often, I promise!).  Never mind that he's always the one who comes out hurt when he does hit his brother.  I guess he's never been quite that mad.

We've discussed.  We've disciplined.  We've moved on.  And he says he won't fight again.

But here's my question.  Is it wrong that I am secretly impressed and proud of the fact that my six-year-old took down a ten-year-old?  Because he did.  And because, well, I am.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Beautiful Game

I haven't been in a blogging mood lately.  And that's really too bad, because have I got a story to tell!  But that's going to have to wait.  Still not quite feeling it.  It's coming, though, I promise.

In other news, "the beautiful game" has taken over our lives.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 17, 2009

He's cute.

And it's his birthday!

Happy Birthday Dan!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Welcome to Camden, School.

You and I already know that my boys are very different.  But this is new information for the teachers in Gatorland.  But they'll learn fast.  Believe me.

Today's after-school conversation...

Mommy: "What did you do in music today, Camden?"
Camden: "I went to time out."

Followed by a discussion about listening to and obeying our teachers.

a little later...

Mommy: "So, Camden, did you cry when you got sent to time out?"
Camden : "Only the first time."

Oh my.  This year may be very different from last.

It Has Begun

Soccer season, that is.

TWO soccer games at ONE time on TWO fields.
You do the math.

But it was a very good day.
And fun!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Do you remember?

Do you remember where you were, what you were doing, who you were with eight years ago today?

I do.

Eight years ago today, I was working out in the gym at George Mason University.  I was only half-listening to the news show playing on the television.  But I heard it.  The chilling announcement that a plane had crashed into one of the twin towers in New York.  All of a sudden my half-listening changed to complete attention - along with everyone else in the gym. We were shocked, and so sad.  What a tragedy.  What a terrible accident.

But then we made a horrible discovery.  As we stared at the tv screen (no one was working out anymore), we watched a second plane fly straight into the second tower.  This was not an accident.

The normally very loud gym was silent.  We continued to stare at the screen, not completely believing our own eyes and ears.  We saw the rubble, the rescue workers, the blood and tears.

But it was happening far away.  Until it wasn't.  Before any of us could gather our thoughts, a new announcement came over the airwaves.  There were reports of an explosion at the Pentagon.  We all knew.  And one man said it out loud.  "It was a plane."  And it was.  This time, it wasn't far away anymore.  It was right here.

We were afraid.  We were sad.  We were devastated.  Our country - our home - was under attack.

As we made frantic phone calls to family and friends - we all knew people who worked at the Pentagon - another tv announcement.  Another plane down.  This one was in a field in Pennsylvania.  In less than half and hour, four planes crashed, three United States landmarks were destroyed, and thousands of people were killed.  Thousands more lost loved ones.  And an entire nation lost a sense of security and safety.

Do you remember the day's following?

I do.

I remember the sense of community.  The national pride.  I remember the blood banks filling to overflowing.  The desire to help others, not just ourselves.  And most of all, I remember the support we all gave to our president and our government.  We turned to them to guide us through this terrible time.  And they did.

We became a stronger, more unified United States.  Party lines were crossed.  We were no longer Democrats and Republicans.  We were Americans.  And we were proud of that.  We would do whatever it took to protect this great nation.

For a while.

But that feeling of national unity went away.  Now, party lines are stronger than ever.  No longer can we be grateful for our liberty; our freedom.  If things don't go our way, we throw a fit.  We complain and rebel against our own elected officials.  We don't support our president and our government.  We don't help each other.  

Why?  I don't know.  I think it's because of pride. And security.  Our government and military have done such a good job of protecting us, of keeping us safe, that we've forgotten what it felt like to have that safety ripped away.

I haven't forgotten.  That is why I am willing to send my husband and my dad far away to protect our freedom.  Our safety.  To protect this country that I love.

Please remember.  Not just today, but every day.  Support this nation.  Support our leaders. Whether you voted for them or not, they are our leaders, and if we want to stay safe, we have to stay together.  Support those who are out there working so hard to protect us.  They are my loved ones.  And I know they remember.

Please remember.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Back to School

Yesterday morning I sent not one, but TWO little boys off on the big yellow bus.

Jake started first grade and Camden is in kindergarten!  They both got the teachers they (read: I) wanted.  They wore their superhero tee-shirts instead of the cute polo shirts I picked out. ("We have to look cool, Mom!")  They got a cookie in their lunches.  And they came home happy.  Hallelujah!

I could wax nostalgic and tell you how emotional this has been for me, but I really don't want to get myself started all over again.  Believe me, it isn't pretty.  So instead, I'll tell you how emotional this has been for the dog.

That's right, you read that correctly.  The dog is having a really rough time with all this.  Yesterday was a perfect Seattle day.  Problem was, this is Virginia, and I don't like grey, rainy days.  Neither does Mayo.  So when we headed out to the bus stop - after putting on new sneakers and sweatshirts (seriously? Sweatshirts on September 8?  I wasn't thrilled.) - Mayo decided not to come.  She was not going to step foot out in such wet weather.  So we left her home.  Poor Mayo.  She sat in the front window and saw the bus come and go.  As I came up the porch steps I could hear my dog already crying.  And the crying continued ALL DAY LONG.  Literally.  She wandered the house, crying.  She laid down on the hard floor - never on her beds - crying.  She poked me, pushed me, and tried to sit on me, crying.  It was a rough day.  She was not ready to send those puppies out into the big bad world without her!  

I had to agree.  I wasn't ready for that either.  But like I said, we're not going to discuss my reaction today.  It may or may not have been pretty similar to the dog's...

Finally, at about 2:00 yesterday afternoon, Mandisa conked out.  All that worry really takes it's toll on a dog, and she fell into a deep - albeit fitful - sleep.  But then, at 4:00 ON THE DOT, she bounced up and raced for the door.  Then she raced back to get me.  See, I hadn't said a word.  I hadn't even put my shoes on or anything.  But Mandisa knew those boys were on their way home.  She practically dragged me out the door, which really wasn't that hard to do, since I'd been counting the seconds all day, myself!

And what a happy reunion we all had!  It was so wonderful to have those boys back home.  I was almost as excited as Mayo.  Almost.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Have I ever mentioned that I think my boys are sweet?

You'll agree when you know what I know...

Last week I wanted to get a picture with the whole family.  This involved getting everybody all situated on some rocks near where we were staying.  My Grandmommy - my boys' Bubby - asked for help getting over the rocks to her spot.  Guess who was there first, arms around Bubby...  It was sweet Jake.  (He tried lifting her by her pants.  Too funny!)

That same sweet boy has taken to putting his arm around me when we sit next to each other.  I love it.

And then there's his brother.  The one who likes to give me kisses as often as he can and who told me in all seriousness that, even though I had to get new jeans, I'm still a sweetheart.  I melted.

Finally, on the way home from church today I heard Camden talking to himself.  And this is what he said: "I really love Jesus."

Oh my.  They're just so sweet.
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