Friday, July 27, 2012

Peaks and Valleys

We've had some highs and lows this past week or so...

The lowest part of the week was when I received an email from Andy telling me that three of his coworkers were shot and killed by an Afghan security guard.  He was a bit shaken up as they were great guys and they worked fairly close together.  I can't imagine what their families must be going through. So I ask anyone reading this, that you keep the families of these guys and all of the guys and girls over there in your thoughts and prayers.  This one hit a little too close to home for me.

More time with Jett....making brownies.
The highs of the past two weeks were numerous.  Jake went to Vacation Bible School with his friend Arlie.  They learned about a mechanism called LifeStraw that purifies drinking water.  The church was trying to raise money to buy these devices for the people in Africa.  Well, the kids didn't think they raised enough through the offerings so they decided to have a lemonade stand to help.  They ended up selling enough lemonade to buy three LifeStraws (about $60)!

These movers gave the kids the jump start they needed.
I took Jake to his first minor league baseball game!  He had his first cotton candy (thankfully and surprisingly, he didn't like it) and he came home with a foul ball (notice I didn't say he caught a foul ball).

Fun at the Tides game.

Balloon man made Jake a snake.

Early this week, Jake and I went to Washington DC to visit a few of the Smithsonian Museums.  We saw the Natural History Museum, the Air and Space Museum, and then we went to the new add on to the Air and Space (I have no idea what it's called) out by Dulles airport where we saw the Spaceshuttle "Discovery," the Concord, numerous WWII planes, The Spirit of St. Lous, and too many others to count.  Remember the Pegasus rocket we found on the beach in the Marshalls?  We're pretty sure we saw that there too.

While in DC, we also spent some time with one of Andy's old high school friends and her two kids.  Jake had a blast and it was nice for us to catch up as well.  I'll tell you what, though....I am exhausted.  I need to go back to the boat to get a break from my vacation.

Remember Chili Dog?
We go back to California tomorrow morning and will stay there a bit longer before heading back to Pohnpei.  I've been trying to think of something to write to keep all you boaters interested (if yore still reading) but we've just been so busy, I haven't had a chance to put all of my thoughts down.  I can say it has been an eye opener for me to spend so much time back in the states.  It really puts things in perspective (in more ways than one) and makes me appreciate all that we have and what we've created in our little bubble out there on our 40 ft island.  The time with family and friends has been so nice, there aren't even words to describe it.  I've never felt so welcome and loved.  But I miss Andy terribly and am looking forward to things winding down.

BUT...not just yet....more to come from Sunny California!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Getting shape in Virginia...sort of

Jake, body surfing in the Atlantic
Apologies for the long lag in posts but we've been having so much fun, I've had a hard time keeping up.  We made it to Virginia and immediately, Jake and my friend Jennie's kid, Jett took off and they were inseparable all week.  We went to the beach, swimming in the pool, and we even introduced Jett to The Bass Pro Shop (can you believe anyone hasn't been there?  :) ).  If you have kids, you can understand how well they got along when I say that they had one fight all week after not only playing together every day but living together as well....and Jennie and I were lucky enough not to even be there for that one.  I also got to catch up with old friends.  Jennie threw me a party and I was so overwhelmed by all the people was great to catch up with everyone.

Slightly disturbing that there was a deer head stuffed
animal, but the kids enjoyed it.

Jennie, Ray (my "old" boss), and me

Jennie, me, Fabiola by Jennie's pool, pre-party

Jennie is one of my friends that inspire me to try to get back in shape...well, at least try to take on a different shape.  (She's going to be irritated with me for writing about her...I'm trying to see how many times I can say Jennie in one post)  The first day we were here she was in a stand up paddle board race and paddled 10 miles in the ocean!!  She managed to get me to swim laps in her pool in the mornings, run a few times, and get this...I went to a cross fit class.  For those of you who have never done that, well...I still can't walk very well.  But we had a great time and I think it might have been the kick in the tail I've been looking for (as I sit here eating my Hardees biscuit in my running attire...I made need a harder kick).

She's going to kill me for putting this up, but I think she looks, I don't think she reads the blog anyway :)

We're at another friend's house now, in Norfolk, and Jake is having fun going to Vacation Bible School in the morning and playing tourist with me in the afternoon.  We went to visit the U.S.S Wisconsin yesterday along with the nautical museum here and he had a blast.  He got to build a little submersible with pvc pipe and motors and actually drove it in the water.  Unfortunately, I didn't take my camera so I can't share, but I can assure you he has a pretty good chance at engineering in the future!

Andy is doing well...he's got about six more weeks and then he'll be heading back to Pohnpei.  He seems to be happy enough, although I think he's officially over the working thing and ready to go back into retirement :).

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

It's really great being in the United States on the 4th of July.  We've spent the past two years in other countries and tried really hard to have a nice celebration, but there's nothing like actually being here.  We didn't do anything super special, but that's what made it nice.  We spent the day at my brother's in-laws house swimming in their gorgeous pool, eating bar-b-que, and ended the day with fireworks at the local college.

I took the opportunity to try out the underwater feature on my new camera.  I bought a Pentax WG-1 and it's supposed to be able to go to 33 feet.  So far, so good.  With Andy gone, I thought ya'll might be missing the exciting underwater wildlife.  First up....the mysterious mermaid....

I never knew mermaids had to hold their noses???

Isn't she cute?  Evidently, the new thing here is mermaid tails.  I thought it was a joke, but no, one of Caitie's friends actually paid big bucks for a tail.  Caitie's grandmother is pretty handy with the sewing machine so she made one for her.  I wasn't able to get the whole thing in the picture.  I suck at taking underwater photos...but you get the idea.

When the professional is away the amateur will play...with her camera.
As if...

Not the most flattering picture ever but I was impressed that Jake took it.
I've never been known as photogenic anyway...thought you might enjoy.
On another note....I've been able to hear from Andy more days than not and I guess he's doing pretty well.  He's struggling a little with the lack of efficiency (which is a little surprising considering where we came from), but he's getting paid and staying safe so all is good.  He sent a few pictures as well, more of the quality you're used to ;).


Shooting the shooter.

I have to say, the beard is quite becoming.  

My very handsome husband :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


The mad tour continues… water parks, cousins, friends, wii, sprinklers, pools, tubing down the chatahoochee…anything to beat this 100+ degree heat here in Atlanta.  I do not remember in the 21 years I lived here ever having this kind of heat.  But maybe my memory is selective...

Goofy with cousins.
Of course everyone wonders how Jake is going to do socially after being semi isolated for so long and I have to admit I wondered as well.  Turns out, it wasn’t Jake I should have worried about…it’s me.  All of the hustle and bustle is quite overwhelming.  I find that I haven’t changed much but my perspective on things have changed drastically so it makes some conversations awkward and others just boring.  I find that I’m easily over stimulated and crave a little alone time more often than not (especially after a day with more than one child…I know I know, you guys are laughing at me but it’s true).  And the thing I can’t quite make right is the missing of my fabulous husband!  I guess that should be no surprise but it is.  I thought I could just jump back into military mode and it would be no big deal…  the good news is that he can call pretty often and he has the luxury of being able to say no to things that are too risky and make the calls he needs to make to do things right…not always the case when actually in the military.  He says he’s going to send me some pictures so I’ll post them on my next up date so you can keep up with the whole family.

In the meantime, we’re going to continue keeping busy and head to VA later this week to visit all of our friends up there (more girl time!!).  For those that don’t know, Virginia is actually our “home” as adults.  Andy and I met there, got married there, bought our first house there and had our child there.  I cried when we sold our house and left my two best friends.  I had some fantastic friends at work there as well.  This is the first time I’m visiting for any length of time and I’m getting more and more excited by the day.

On a more somber note...Jake got a goldfish and Aunt Caroline said he could keep it at her house.  Well, Goldie didn't last very long and I've spent the better part of this morning consoling one very upset six year old.  He hasn't been this upset since his hermit crab died on the boat.   He's normally so stoic when it comes to the lifecycle of animals...strictly food chain type conversations.  But this little bug eyed goldfish made quite the impression.  These little people never cease to amaze me.

A few strawberries and donuts later and now he's off to play...ah, the resiliency.   Here's some pictures documenting the madness he calls play...  Enjoy!

It's no surprise Jake's favorite part of the water park was the wave pool!

Who knows what they were doing...

Legoland Discovery Center

Jake and this random kid built the pyramid...then they turn the knob
and see if it would withstand an earthquake.

Carter and Jake making water balloons... throw at mommy.

Jake with my friend Angie's kids...

These four cuties were enjoying their salmon with a very sophisticated
concoction of apple juice, sprite topped with a sprig of mint, courtesy
of Mr. Jamie.

Too much Wii makes for very tired boys.

The long awaited pillow fight.  The girls at Caitie's sleepover
surprised Jake.  But he says he did make one "surrender."