Saturday, January 4, 2014

He made this- the swing couch

Matt made this from old barn wood, restored and refinished into a swing couch. We love it.

Hung by 4 thick ropes from ceiling beams, it hangs in our living room in front of a fireplace....a dreamy place to curl up with a book on these snowy winter days.

Perhaps though, today we should mention that what's important isn't necessarily the couch, but the folks who sit on it. Today, Matt left for a 10 month deployment to Afghanistan. (We took this pic on our way out the door-)

The kids hardly remember the last deployment, which was equally as long, when he departed from Guam. At least we're not in Guam this time around, but I'm still dreading the unending deployment and misery of single parenting while trying to hold down a full time job. Thank you Matt for the swing couch- we'll keep your seat warm and we'll be waiting patiently for you to get back.


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Year's End - Last posts from a tough year

These are the last posts from a really tough year. The move from Belgium, adjusting back to the US, and still suffering reverse culture shock, we are taking it all one day at a time. Matt deploys for at least 10 months starting this Saturday. So, to be frank, it feels as if we have yet another very hard year ahead.
We have a lot to be grateful for too. This week, we had lunch at the White House West Wing. Who gets an opportunity like that? And man, the snowfall this month made for fantastic sledding (which was only slightly more fun for the kids than sitting up straight and using impeccable manners in the aforementioned lunch). Here are a few pics to share. Videos will be added if time allows.

Looking forward, Matt leaves for a year to Afghanistan, and I have found a position as a pharmacy manager. A dreadful commute into DC and a lot of stress, I pray it's worth the time and effort, especially under the difficulty of deployment. The opportunity allows for the kids to have an au pair, who can help to keep up their French language skills, and will hopefully allow us to purchase a new camera- a goal for 2014, as the favorite camera officially crashed Christmas morning. Stay tuned, more to share ahead......
We hope you and your families look forward to a Healthy and Happy New Year in 2014.
Sending lots of good wishes~ Happy New Year!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Hot off the Press

We're baaaa-aaack! Well, not really in full force. We're just stopping by here for a little, overdue update. Because my camera is broken and will remain that way until the rainclouds drop money, we'll keep posting to a minimum .(Perhaps, that is a relief to some of you?)

So before I get ahead of myself, here's a quick and dirty update. Ok, just quick, not so dirty.
We moved from Belgium this summer. Matt left early and I flew back with the kids in June. Me, 10 suitcases, and 4 kids on a 10 hour journey. It was not fun. But awaiting at the other end of that very long trip were family who we dearly missed and were so happy to see.
We stayed with family and friends through the summer, wearing out our welcome everywhere we went. We had no idea if we'd be able to sell our home in Norfolk and move to DC, or if we'd live in Norfolk while Matt would commute from DC on weekends to see us.
Turns out- the house sold in Norfolk. So we moved to the greater DC area. (We're really way way outside of the city in a rural setting that we quite enjoy).
We unpacked 3 large moves which consisted of a lot of stored items that we never recalled having purchased and having been so long without their use, sent them off to auction. Thanks mom and dad, for kindly storing all that stuff that we didn't really need after all. What can I say? Living in Europe taught us a lot about ourselves.
Whilst unpacking, we celebrated Arleigh's birthday. My camera has been broken for some time, and is not likely to recover. So the camera phone has taken on a call of duty...I miss the use of manual mode.
You see, a lot of great moments have been lost due to me fidgeting with the cell phone camera. I know it shouldn't be so difficult, but it is. I miss my camera. It was an extension of me and ugh, I feel like someone cut off my darn hand! Stuff like this is what I have now....
 Hence, the lack of posts lately. You see?

I digress.....
We plugged away at settling in. Our place was formerly a small organic produce farm. We'd like to continue in that spirit, though we honestly don't know what we're doing. Giving it our best though, we are now equipped with a small tractor, and are starting with soil sample testing. We'll see where this leads us. Hopefully onward to a little fun, a lot more learning, and great food.
We love our new community. It's small, and that was important to us. We wanted the kids to experience exactly this sort of place if  the DC area was going to be our future. School is doing well and we're happy to report honor roll results for the first term in the US school system. (Which is impressive if you could see the wreckage of spelling based on 4 years in francophone school).

When we left Belgium, Emory said "If we are going to move to DC, I want to go to the White House for my Birthday!"  Today he had the opportunity of a lifetime and dream come true. He was able to tour the West Wing because a good friend offered to make this wish come true. No photography is allowed inside, so all photos were taken outside, but we did get to see the West Wing and it was rather different than what we'd expected. Emory was grinning from ear to ear the entire time. We can't thank our friends enough for the opportunity. I hope the kids remember this forever. Here are some pics, hot off the press and straight from the visit....

Stella, seriously? Why do you have to do that?

Matt will deploy in early 2014. Our intention was to stop the blog when we returned to the US, but Matt has requested that I continue, so that he might get a good overall glimpse into the flow of every day updates in his absence. I can tell you those posts will come at a slower pace, but I may keep posting, at least for the time being.
To those of you who know us, please know the door is open to you and we have plenty of guest room space. Come and stay awhile! To those of you who don't know us, but check in here, we're still a circus act.
More to come, eventually.
Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Namma's 94th

Namma, Matt's grandmother, celebrated her 94th birthday this week. The kids had a great time with festivities, from water balloon launches, water guns and the slip n' slide, to ice cream cake, there was no shortage of activities...or food. Believe me, quite an affair! For us, it was fantastic to play with the cousins and spend some time with them after so many years away.
Some snaps-


Thanks Jeannie and Gary for hosting all of us.
 Namma, this was so much fun and we're glad we could finally be here to help celebrate.
We can't wait for your 95th! Happy Happy Birthday!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Aunt Karrie

If we can, when we're up home visiting family, we like to make the trek to see Aunt Karrie. It's a day trip, and never disappointing. She (unnecessarily) showers the kids with gifts and they consequently believe that Christmas in July always happens at Aunt Karen's :) Thanks Aunt Karrie for a great visit. Now we're just going to be waiting for you to make the trek to Virginia to see us!

Dudley Dog


It was with much sadness and heavy hearts that we had to put Dudley dog to sleep today.
The kids said their good byes, and took some time with him, but that didn't make it easier.
He's been with us since well before the kids came along, and even in his very old age, he never snapped or even gave us cause to be angry with him. He was an amazing dog, who logged over 40,000 flight miles, traveling with us as an important part of our family, no matter where the military orders. At age 15, he'd surely lived a full life, still loved a walk in the evening, and a treat when offered. We're going to miss him more than words can say.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Garage Sale

This posting is to update all those who are trying to check in on us. Matt is still in training in Louisiana. Since the last post, we've visited Aunt Betsy, Grandpa and Grandma, and a farm where we stayed a week. Some great pictures of the farm but we're going to hold off on posting all that.
Now we're back at Grandma's house and holding a garage sale there to help her clean some things out. (Like great grandma's wigs which the boys are so proudly sporting in this picture). The house in Norfolk has a pending offer and closing is set for mid July. House hunting in the greater DC area begins in early July. Stay tuned- this summer seems filled with surprises, ups and all too many downs.