Friday, June 27, 2008


Well, I think we survived our first week "Home Alone". We made it to camp by 0800 everyday, a miracle in and of itself. The kids had a great time at camp although I have to say for a camp billed as "All Sports Camp" there was really not a lot of different sports. They played soccer the most plus a bit of basketball and what Ryan called a "sort of baseball" game once. Oh well. At least they had fun!

I managed a date night for myself - dinner out with Mom and Shani while Uncle Jon watched all the kiddos.

I successfully avoided cooking all week. Unless you count the scrambled eggs I made for Ryan the other day but that really doesn't count if you ask me. I invited Mom over for dinner tonight though. I have no other outside activities planned for today so surely I can manage to make spaghetti for dinner... right?!?

What I learned this week...
*I can get up and get the kids ready and out before 0800. But I'd really rather not if I don't have to...
*Six months is a loooooooooonnnnngg time. In all our years of military separations, we have never done six consecutive months. I think two and half months may have been the previous record. The separations were frequent over the first five years but not long. Something tells me this may be a bit harder. Could it be the three little monkeys left in my charge? Being constantly responsible for someone other than myself? Multiple little someones? Ack!

I think the denial that I have been living in is fading away and left in it's place is a wee bit of panic. Reality is a tough one to face sometimes. I know we can do it. It'll just take a couple of weeks to settle into our "Home Alone" routine. January will be here before you know it.


And now the really great news... Ron will be home tonight. So we get one more week of last minute preparations, now that we've figured out some of the things we need and/or forgot in all the rush of finishing school and packing. A bonus visit... weaning me away slowly. I'll take it! I've already got his list started... fix toilet, fix computer, fix...

Monday, June 23, 2008

Wrinkly, Stinkly Feet

Ryan, Bella, and Kana had the first day of All-Sports Camp today. Basketball and Soccer. When they came home and shed their shoes and socks, 6 wrinkly (but not too stinkly!) feet were revealed. I guess that's the souvenir of 5 hours of running and playing in wet grass and puddles! They had a great time which is good since they still have 3 days left...

In other news...

*The laundry is generating itself. Like bunnies. I distinctly remember doing ALL of the laundry before we left and yet there is a basket full of dirty clothes waiting for me in the bathroom. Clothes that were not with us on vacation. Hmmm...

*Our Big Trip 3 has changed its entire itinerary! I talked to Betty Lou today and her vacation dates were different than I thought so we'll be going to Texas first rather than last. Maybe that's why I hadn't made any firm plans yet - I knew that I was going to have to change them. See, sometimes procrastination does pay off.

*I am slowly coming back to reality and digging out from the end-of-school-year-plus-road-trip-preparation-cramming disaster area that is my house. Today I cleaned out the refrigerator and did the dishes. Another sinkful of dishes has filled in since noon so you can't even see the progress. I also went to Safeway so the kids don't have to eat moldy sandwiches for lunch at camp tomorrow. I cleared off the pile of papers in the kitchen and tackled half of the pile on the living room table. I put away a few more things that had been unloaded into the middle of the living room floor from the car yesterday. Of course, Melissa is here so the kids are making another big mess in its place. Oh well.

*Now it is time to feed Darby and get the kids to Shani's so we can go to dinner. Yea Birthday Dinner!

*More trip blog updates from last week coming up tomorrow I think.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Home and online... for now anyway. I'm going to backfill my posts from last week so if interested, page down a bit.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Technical Difficulties

We are experiencing technical difficulties here at She-Ra's place...

Somewhere along the line between the hotel at the beach and arriving at my aunt's house in South Carolina, my computer decided to boycott the internet. Which means I have no email. And all my blog posts that I was typing in the meantime are stuck. I may find a way to release them in the meantime but still have no email. Bummer!

And this means that I am definitely dreading Ron's extended abscence. He's only been gone a week and already my technical woes have started. The good news is that he is here with us in Richmond for the weekend so hopefully he can figure it out before he goes back down on Sunday.

Keep your fingers crossed everyone!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Back to the Interstate

Up again at 0730. Mike made waffles for breakfast then I worked on getting everything packed up and the car loaded. I lost track of my clean laundry and almost forgot the swimsuits. Lana said she needs to come live with us while Ron is gone to make sure I don’t lose any of the kids!

While the kids were watching tv there was a commercial for the SC Museum. Ryan said, “Hey – we don’t have a VA Musuem. We should call the governor!”

1051 – leave Lana’s house

1109 – stop at Starbucks Drive-thru. I wanted to go to Sonic but I was still full from breakfast.
1119 – North Carolina!!!

1136 – Big rock to the windshield. Yikes!

12:15 p.m. Decide to stop for a potty break before the kids fall asleep. Too much coffee this morning!

12:37 p.m. Bella finished reading her book that we bought Tuesday night – Kylie the Carnival Fairy. It was a special edition book so probably had about 100 pages. She has become quite the super reader this year. It’s not such a chore anymore to read so now she enjoys it.

1:22 p.m. Stop at Arby’s for lunch. I had hoped for a Sonic or a Jack in the Box but no such luck.

2:45 p.m. Somebody just got a speeding ticket. The cop was following him with his lights on for awhile. Maybe the driver was trying to outrun the cop to the state line? Looks like he ended up about 2 miles short.

2:46 p.m. Virginia!!!

3:43 p.m. Trying to think of ways to prevent myself from turning into a giant couch potato while Ron is gone. Maybe I should see if Mark wants to run a couple 5K’s together? If I have a deadline, it might keep me on track to train alone.

4:17 p.m. Arrive at Allie’s. Ryan and John are so excited to see each other.

The kids play happily for the rest of the evening, stopping only to devour Chinese food for dinner.

10:00 p.m. Finally getting every one headed to bed.

11:00 p.m. Tell Ryan and John to turn off the lights and GO TO SLEEP!!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

On the Lake

Up at about 0715 again. Went for a short run, only 20 minutes. After breakfast we got things ready to go out on the boat.

We arrived at Lake Wylie and got underway at 12:05 p.m. We cruised around the lake for awhile then we stopped at a small island so the kids could swim. After our swim we cruised around a bit more. Both Felisa and Bella fell asleep while we were “driving”. After a bit we stopped at the island again for another swim before calling it a day. We arrived back at the boat dock at about 5 p.m. Mike had a meeting so the rest of us went to dinner at Outback. On the way home we stopped for gas- $3.79/gallon. Before bed sunburn check showed Felisa and Bella fine. Ryan was a bit red on his cheeks and his shoulders I was red on my chest, shoulders, back and face – not too bad but 5 hours outside is really too much sun for me, no matter how much sunscreen I put on!

Lake Favorites-
Ryan – Laying in the sun on the boat
Bella – finding her secret forest place on the island
Felisa – Swimming
Sheila – riding around on the boat and seeing all the big houses
Lana – being with us on the boat
Mike – backing the boat trailer into the lake on the first try

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Fun Day

0730 Wake up. Trying to decide whether or not to get up or go back to sleep. Decide I should probably just get up since usually all that happens when I go back to sleep in the morning is more crazy dreams.

0735 Hear Ryan and Bella talking so that settles it. Time to get up.

Uncle Mike made breakfast – scrambled eggs, bacon, and toast. After breakfast Ryan and Bella got ready to go to Brattonsville with Mike. Felisa went with Lana and I to run errands – the insurance office, lunch at Sonic, Sears for a tire alignment/oil change, and Walmart for sunscreen and garlic bread pretzel pieces.

Ryan’s report of Brattonsville:

When we first got there we went inside the admissions office and got a map. Then we went into the gift shop. There we got chalkboard for Bella and Revolutionary soldiers for me. Then we started walking on the trail. We soon came to a backwoods cabin where a reenactment was going on. We stood at the doorframe looking in to the cabin but we didn’t go inside. We headed down the trail for a little bit then we got to a house. We went inside. It was like a cabin for people to live in then we went outside and saw a few pigs and goats. Then we went over to look at the smokehouse. We went inside the Bratton house. When we went inside we saw some wax food set up on a dining table. When we turned right we got to a school place.
(((This is Bella’s report about the school:

The brothers everyday had short days. Because they had to help their dads in the fields. The girls stayed at school. It was like a girl day. The boys were happy because they like helping the dads. The girls were happy because they like learning just like me. That’s why I always behave and get good reports. )))

After we went to the school I think we went to a copy of one of the Bratton’s… it was a copy of a grave marker of one of their servants who died in the battle of Huck’s Defeat. His name was Watt.

We crossed a road to get to the homestead. The homestead was a newer version of the Bratton House (the one with the school). We saw lots of interesting artifacts. My favorite room was the doctor’s office. It had lots and lots of cool medicine and lots of other stuff like a melted candle. When we went back outside we went inside a slave’s cabin made out of bricks. It looked like it was a hard life living in that cabin.

We saw horses. We also went to see a place where they did something with the cotton they got out of the field. Then we went to an original slave’s cabin that was 106 years old.

The tour guide made corn husk dolls for us. She told us that the kids had to make their own toys because they didn’t have any money. Toss toys and corn husk dolls.

Favorite part:
R- the tool shed and smokehouse
B- seeing the horses
M- tour by Miss Nettie and the hairy pigs

After a break, we went to the pool. Ryan and Bella and I ended up with a few pink spots so we’ll need extra sunscreen when we go out on the boat tomorrow.

After swimming, it was time for a quick change then dinner at Jack-in-the-Box. Mmm… Then we went back to the cool playground that we went to last winter. It was much warmer there today! And after the playground… because it is Fun Day as Bella declared… we went to Books-a-Million and each kid (and Lana) bought a new book. Now it’s time to go to bed. I don’t know about anyone else but I’m tired!!!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Go West To Go South?!?

Title note... Ryan played "Christopher C" in the Columbus play at school. One of the lines in the play was "Go west to go east?!?" So we were changed it to "Go west to go south?!?" since we were driving due west from NC to get to Lana's house in SC.

Wake up around 7. Get dressed and go to breakfast. No one can finish so we save the waffles and pancakes to eat after our beach time.

We spent one last morning at the beach. The waves seemed stronger to me but maybe that’s just my sea paranoia kicking in. I REALLY don’t want to lose anyone in the surf. I have 3 kids but only 2 hands so we stick close to the beach and don’t go in past the first drop-off. Collected a few shells and built a shell castle.

1030 - Time to get changed and packed.

1155 – Leave the hotel headed to Aunt Lana’s in South Carolina.

12:05 p.m. Felisa is asleep already and we haven’t even left the island yet.

12:11 p.m. Reflection time… I’m really not a big beach fan but it was definitely nice being at the hotel with the beach right outside the door. We were able to avoid the usual schlepping of stuff that is associated with going to the beach and we were close so we didn’t have to feel guilty about not staying long enough. Coming back later was easy – no minimum stay requirement!

12:19 p.m. More reflection… this time about all the hush puppies we were served at each and every restaurant. The southern influence has seemed much stronger this time. Last night we even had two giant bowls of butter packs to dip our deep-friend bread into. Yum! Not surprising, Bella was loving it!

12:27 p.m. Pass a VBS sign for Outrigger Island. Sounds like a fun theme. Which reminds me – I need to start thinking about planning our VBS class.

12:38 p.m. Passing Camp Lejeune. The Garth Brooks song “Thunder Rolls” is on the radio. The lyrics of the song are about a husband caught cheating on his wife. Which is really too bad since I love this song and always think of Ron and our early courtship days when I hear it. What I like about the song are the thunder in the background and the memories of an all-nighter spent at the NROTC computer lab working on term papers together. We all wave to Daddy as we drive by.

12:42 p.m. Almost every car driving by has heavy bass and there are many, many barbershops – must be near a military base! J

2:00 p.m. Okay the meandering and zig-zagging of the two-lane highway is getting very annoying. The interstate may be boring but at least it’s fast!

2:03 p.m. Score! A Sonic!
2:03 ½ p.m. Bummer. Closed. (Out of business but the sign and the flags all still looked new)

2:11 p.m. Oops – forgot to charge my phone at the hotel this weekend. Can’t find a phone charger for my phone in the car.

2:55 p.m. Stop in Roseboro, NC for gas and potty. $2.99/gallon. Got my house phone charger out. Let’s see if it will plug into the transformer car charger thing-a-ma-jag.

3:18 p.m. Stop at Sonic. They even have a playground! Yea!

4:05 p.m. Leaving Sonic. Not sure we’ll make it to Rock Hill by 6:00 since we’re still stuck in NC. Got the computer started with a movie before we pull out. Now showing: Peter Pan

4:37 p.m. Passing a coke truck. Felisa says, “Hey! Daddy likes that drink!”

4:42 p.m. South Carolina!!!

6:20 p.m. Lancaster, SC

7:00 p.m. Arrive at Lana’s. Finally! I think the trip from NC to SC is longer than the trip from VA to SC!!!

The kids played, ate a late dinner, then helped Uncle Mike set up the tent in the living room. Everyone had a job – the pillow person, the sleeping bag person, and the blanket person. Amazingly enough they were asleep before 9:30 even after being in the car almost all day.


There's a paper machine outside the front door of the hotel... when we arrived on Saturday, the headline on the front page said "Deaths in Afghanistan Top Iraq in May". Gee, good to know.

The next day's headline was about the fires on Camp Lejeune. Gosh, thanks for letting me know.

So Camp Lejeune is burning and people are dying in Afghanistan. I feel so much better now about Ron's deployment. Not!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

You know you're near a Marine Corps base when...

You go to the barber shop at 9 p.m. on a Sunday evening for a haircut. The hours posted on the door for Sunday are 9 - Late and the shop is busy.

Ron has arrived at Camp Lejeune and checked in with the duty officer. And now I'm sure he has a very short haircut based on his report from the barber!

Father's Day at the Beach

After a less than restful night (Felisa was squirmy and the hotel had the beach lit up forever) we are ready for a fun day on the beach and at the pool. The water here is much warmer than NJ so I anticipate much time spent in the ocean today.

more details coming... I left my notebook of the drive in the car.


Updated to add...
We went out and found a diner for breakfast. Then we came back and spent 3 hours at the beack and pool. We ate lunch at the pool bar then it started to rain. Now we are relaxing indoors while the thunder and lighting are outside.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Let the Summer Begin

Summer vacation has begun... I saw the first lightning bug of the summer last night so I guess that makes it official.

Today is the first day of our Daddy Farewell Tour and Mini Road Trip. Ron and I were up at 0530 to continue the packing and other trip preparations. We were aiming for a 0700 departure (changed from the original time of O'Dark Thirty last night when we were both too tired to function).

0935 - Car is filled with gas and McD's breakfast is on board. $4.09/gallon at Safeway. Ron is driving in the van with the kids (a little last minute bonding time) while I'm following behind in the black car. All. by. myself. Woo hoo!

0959 - Traffic jam on 95 south. Which is what we were hoping to avoid by leaving at O'Dark Thirty. Oh well.

1001 - Okay, that wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I'm sure there will be more though!

1020 - Fredericksburg traffic and we still have 15 miles before we even get to Fredericksburg.

1048 - I think I need to find a rum ball recipe. Someone at lunch the other day mentioned that they ship well and are received with much appreciation by the soldiers on deployment.

1111 - Stopped. On the highway. Because??? I just love driving on 95 south. Not!

1145 - Made it past Richmond. The landscape and traffic patterns have really changed. More rural/small town now and less crowds.

12:32 p.m. North Carolina!!!

2:34 p.m. Leaving our lunch stop. We ate at the "retro" 95/64 Diner in Rocky Mount which was right next to the Harley showroom. Harley was having some sort of event so we went inside and looked around. Found a cool tshirt for Ryan but didn't want to pay $15. Bella thought the stuffed Harley Hog was ugly. I found a nice pink/white jacket but again didn't want to pay $100 especially since I really didn't need it.

3:11 p.m. Lots of bikes (tied to cars of course) headed to the beach today. I guess bikes must be required equipment.

3:56 p.m. Fire in a field. Fire truck approaches the intersection so we stop. Then the fire truck stops and turns off his light. He's not going to the fire?!? I don't get it!

4:30 p.m. Stop for a Felisa potty break. Ron buys a coke but what I really want is a McD's ice coffee so I guess I'll stick with water.

4:41 p.m. Ron stops at McD's so I can get a coffee. How sweet! Too bad this backwards McD's DOESN'T have any!!! Grrrr!!!

4:50 p.m. First Sonic sighting! Mmmm... Sonic...

5:09 p.m. Another Felisa potty break. This time conveniently located at a McD's that DOES have ice coffee. Yea!

5:11 p.m. Second Sonic sighting. This one had cheesecake bites advertised on the marquis. Mmmm...

5:32 p.m. Arrive at the hotel. Ryan is impressed with the view from the hallway/parking lot - you can see the river. Then we go inside and see the view outside the room window. The Ocean! The Beach! And a Pool! Daddy's hotel choice rocks!

We went to the beach to check the water - much warmer than NJ! - and then went to the pool for about an hour before dinner. Dinner at the hotel then we gave Ron his first Father's Day gift - the Planet Earth DVD set. We watched seasonal forests then went to sleep with the sound of the ocean and other hotel night owls still swimming outside. Oh and don't forget the giant light illuminating the whole beach.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday the 13th

Not so much in the traditional bad luck way... more in an "I'm so exhausted I can hardly stand it" kind of way. Today was the last day of school for Ryan and Bella (Felisa ended on Wednesday). The entire past month has been filled with end-of-year activities. The last two weeks in particular have been jam-packed. Even today we had the kindergarten picnic. On the last day of school.

Teacher gifts (because I always finish at the last minute!), class picnics, soccer parties, crazy storms (I was in lockdown at school with the kids for an hour last Wednesday!), and getting Ron (and the rest of us, me in particular) ready for deployment.

We're headed south to NC tomorrow morning. Father's Day weekend at the beach then farewell. A mini road trip on the way back to take my mind off of it.

As I mentioned in my crazy dream post a couple weeks ago, I think I am subconsciously more stressed out than I realize or that I will admit. The last two weeks have been so busy and physically exhausting. The mental stuff on top of it and well, I'm toast. If I can make it that far, I'm ready for my vacation to start. Just a 6 1/2 hour drive away...

Happy Friday the 13th everyone!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Darby vs. Cody

alternate titles:
Seperate but Equal
Choosing Sides
She's MINE!!!

So I kind of forgot to let Cody out last night. Oops! Clearly I cannot be trusted with a dog that I can't see at all times and who isn't jumping up and down under my nose begging to be let out. So... I decided to bring Cody down to the house this morning and test the waters with Darby again.

They're doing great. God (thankfully) gave me two hands and two sides so that I can pet and praise both of them at the same time. That seems to keep them happy. They each stay on one side of me and keep a very close watch at all times to make sure I am safe and also to make sure the other dog is not getting more attention than he is. The love and protection is positively overwhelming I tell you!

Two water dishes. Two plush chew toys. Two sides of the room. A match made in heaven...

Not sure if I'll leave them both home alone together when we go out to run errands. How lucky do I really feel after all?! But we have made a great step forward in the Cody/Darby relationship today. Yea!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Analyze this

A variation on a 911 dream this morning...

Ron and I were having some alone time when the kids came home from Grandma's house. Then he grabbed me and wouldn't let go for some reason. I finally pushed him away but bumped his leg which he said really hurt him. Then he asked me if I was ready for that night. Apparently his sister was in town for a wine-tasting event for one night only and we were supposed to go. He had told me about it before and asked me to get a babysitter but I had forgotten all about it. I then got upset because I was tired - we had been doing different activities all weekend long - and because just maybe I was a little more stressed out then I was admitting about the upcoming deployment. So then he went downstairs and I got myself together and was trying to figure out what I was going to do about a babysitter. Melissa was at prom so she couldn't do it. And the winetasting was a late night affair - it started at 10. I have no idea what I'm going to do. I go downstairs and there's a strange dog in the house. Ron said he volunteered to take care of him for a few days and take him to the vet. I was worried about Darby since he doesn't like other dogs, particulary big dogs, but then Darby came around the corner and didn't care. Next thing I know we are at the vet trying to get the dog checked in for his appointment. About 20 other dogs are also there trying to get checked in. While Ron is doing that I decide I should call Shani on my cell and see if the kids can spend the night while we're out at the winetasting. I keep trying to call but there is no dial tone. And then other people are on the line laughing about me trying to make a phone call but can't do it. I keep trying but never works so then I go to a pay phone and call. I get through but it is really noisy around me and I can barely hear. Then Ryan comes over in his footed pajamas and I tell him to go back and sit in the car or wait with his dad. I ask Shani but she doesn't want to babysit. We go round and round about all the possibilities - door open/unlocked, pick up the kids at night, leave kids until morning, call when we're done with the tasting to see what's best. I really don't think we ever resolved it. Next thing I know Ryan and I are walking around in pajamas while people are all around partying and laughing at us. Finally Ron is done with the dog so we leave. As we drive away we realize that we didn't pay for the scone that we got from the coffee shop.

And that's about all I can remember. Analysis anyone? What's that? I'm crazy? Yep, I'd say that's an accurate analysis!

The 911 part for those that don't know the theme (I did mention it in my neuroses post) is that I couldn't get the call to go through and then when I finally did, Shani wouldn't help me.

(Though the not helping me part would never happen in real life!)