Wednesday, August 31, 2011 notice a few things

...that show our new house is becoming a home

*Timber has started chewing on her rawhide again (something she does only when she is most relaxed).

*I did three loads of laundry this evening. Unfortunately despite being consumed by unpacking, life moves on and my kids still spill crap all over themselves.

*We had something for dinner that wasn't packaged, processed, or purchased prepared. Thanks only to my friend Amy...but we did eat on my own dishes that I actually pulled from the cupboard!

*Each of my children went to bed bathed. In a bathtub. There was even soap and shampoo. Granted they all still had to share the same bath least they were clean.

*Abbey brought me flowers and put them in a vase.

Don't dandelions when presented so lovingly make every house a home?

It is even more perfect she wanted to make sure I had them in my room where I could see them.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Rabbit Street Rd,Fort Drum,United States

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Saturday, August 27, 2011 get to Drum we are Drum.  What have ya got?

We left West Point today and I cried even more tears than I thought I would.  And I always cry...I am the girl who wears her emotions on her sleeves.  I have cried for nearly two weeks now.  Some days more than others but only because I become so attached to those I love.

So here I am.  Exhausted.  Emotionally drawn.  But at the same time incredibly hopeful and ready for the next chapter.

We walked into our new home and it is as nice as it looks in the picture.  It is a great new home.  In a perfect neighborhood with houses spaced exactly, appropriately apart.  But of course it isn't my big, beautiful, historical home.  I know. I sound like such a snob.  But I loved that house and grew to love that post.

I am trying hard to imagine our household goods in all the nooks and crannies of this place and I am hopeful that my children will fit quickly into the cliques that surely already exist.  But I will not lie, I feel a little empty inside.  It is harder than I thought to start over on my own.  However, I know that when we leave here in two years...I'll feel just the same as I do now.  I'll cry for several days and worry about my kids and wonder how all my 'stuff' will fit into our next new home. Because I will have learned to love this place, just as much as West Point.

The highlights of our day today:

We traveled today for six rather uneventful hours.  With a carful of a clothes, random leftover household items (a die from Monopoly, several household plants, a cross left on the wall, three bouncy balls found under the heater right before we left, a few boxes of cereal...), a dog, two mice (sorry Mark, Will was unwilling to part with these rodents), and obviously four kids.  Our van was FULL.

When we arrived here at Fort Drum the kids immediately began to run through the house.  They went upstairs, downstairs, outside.  Timber was equally excited.  Excited enough to throw up no less than seven times on the freshly cleaned carpet of our Master bedroom!  Unfortunately the green machine was NOT one of the random items in our van (consequently that will be our first Walmart purchase tomorrow at Target).  Awesome.

We unloaded the van.  Filled up the refrigerator from items we brought form West Point and proceeded to smash a full jar of olives on the freshly mopped floors.  Glass and olive juice everywhere.  Awesome.

Thank goodness I already have a friend here to drink a glass of wine (or two) with.

We were met with open arms from my friend Amy (from West Point) who has been more than helpful with our transition.  She and her husband had us over for dinner tonight and then Johnny had the pleasure of having to jump my van later in the evening.  Just for your information it is NOT a good idea to let your children play in the van while you unload it from a six hour road trip and then NOT check on what things they may have left on....agh.  Awesome.

Really.  I can't make this shtuff up.

Bring it on Fort Drum.  I am ready...the story can only get better from here.

Thursday, August 25, 2011 have the packers finish moving my things

...checked this box!

Mark...can you believe we filled this truck up AND they had to bring another?  Aren't you proud?  Too proud of me to speak?

The Truck

My little crew....

Certainly a better size perspective

The movers are gone.  My beautiful house is empty.  The next chapter is about to begin.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011 be a raving lunatic

...well not really.

I don't think anyone really wakes up in the morning and says, "Today is the day I want to be considered especially foolish".

Some other equally as unflattering terms to describe my antics today might include:

madwoman. imbecile. psychopath. psychotic. fool. idiot. eccentric. informal loony. nut. nutcase. head case. psycho. moron. screwball. crackpot. fruitcake. fruit loop. loon.

I especially like the term 'informal loony'.  What is this?

I think maybe if you google one or maybe even all of these terms today you might indeed find footage on Youtube of my outburst with my movers this morning.  And while this might be the kind of outburst a sailor might be proud of...I am sorry that I allowed the movers to get to me.

To me:  The move is stressful for sure.  The timing is short.  The circumstances unfortunate.  The loneliness empty.  The sadness too much to bare.  The responsibility too much for my shoulders.  

And probably the comment that really set me off was that 'they understood'.


The details that lead up to this are as common in a move to me as any of my friends might experience.  A bunch of workers come in to pack and move the goods of my home.  They rummage through my things (violating), toss it into boxes, throw it on a truck, and never cross my path again.  The item may or MAY NOT make it to my new home and if it does, it is just as likely to have parts missing and be broken or damaged.  Has anyone seen my headboard?

I have learned many lessons over the years (and this is NOT my first rodeo in fact it is my 13th) and a few of them are:

  • give my expectations up front
  • be respectful, kind and smile often
  • offer the movers drinks
  • and joke about how much junk I really do have.
  • it does not help to buy/provide them with lunch
  • it does not help to have my things organized before they come (pieces will still be missing on the other end)
  • they will leave trash throughout my house (soda bottles, tape rolls, cellophane)
  • that my stuff is just stuff.  It is replaceable (now at full replacement value).

Despite all of these lessons, I am disappointed every time.  And today...they pushed the wrong button.  

Crazy momma bear informal loony lady came screeching out (Isabella thought this was funny).

The details are silly.  The incidents just added up over the three days.  But the final straw was: I wanted to check the inventory on our high value items.  Because as all military families know, "if it ain't on the didn't exist."  

I have recovered.  They did too.  They learned this is my home.  My stuff.  And they work for me.  But it didn't have to get ugly.  But at the end of this day...they worked steadily, quietly, and asked me, if I was happy.

Maybe now I will be called lengendary...

Monday, August 22, 2011 find the worst in things

...cause let's face it. There are days when we just want to have a bad day and be grumpy.

I am sad about moving.

I don't want them to pack up the beautiful home that I have worked so hard to make our own.

I don't want to let down the families I worked for.

And mostly I don't want to leave the comfort and familiarity of my friends.

So today I wanted to be grouchy.

And my day started out 'perfect'. Abbey joined me at 5:50 while I was running on my treadmill. I HATE it when the kids wake up when I am running.

Then she pointed out timber had thrown up. Not once. But twice. Interupted again. Even more perfect. The day was going exactly how I wanted.

But...the day started to shape up. In a way where I couldn't be so bitter.

I had so much help is heartwarming.

So many people have called to offer...stopped to check in on me...just-in-case I might need the help but wasn't asking.

My sweet brother-in-law took time off to drive all the way from Boston to help.

My friend Karen kept us fed...all day (and did many other things).

Lisa and Elizabeth kept the girls.

Meghan kept me on task and kept working at one task after another. AND brought donuts!

Even the errands I needed to complete were seamless. All of which involved government employees! Even more impressive!

So as I look back on the day...the day I really wanted to feel sorry for myself and be grouchy, I realize that instead I am just fortunate.

Overwhelmed maybe. Sad for sure. But certainly fortunate.

I should have known the day wasn't really going to be miserable when I was able to capture this:

Abbey fell asleep next to me while I was running on my treadmill.
How sweet.  How can I be grouchy about this?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, August 20, 2011 find things to laugh about throughout my day

...I knew the day was going to be rough

when it began with Abbey vomiting several times before breakfast this morning.  She was very sweet when she asked, "Can we go to Targwit to get another baby and some coffee?" since she had just thrown up all over her favorite baby.

So as I went through my day, and now look back, there really weren't any funny things the kids said or that they did.

I will not lie.  There were MANY little things throughout the day that made me want to go and jump off the closet put me out of my misery but the daycare incident no question wins.  I think I lost my marbles.  Not that I know what losing my marbles means.

I went to pick up Audrey from the daycare and they were not able to find her 'didi's' as we were leaving (a.k.a. lovey, blankie, item that makes her sleep at night).  We looked for those 'wammy's' (as she now will refer to them since they are little lambs) for more than thirty minutes.

I felt the sweat on my brow after five minutes.  These daycare rooms are not very big.
At the ten minutes mark I was really worried.
By fifteen minutes I was sweating and running around the playground looking in, under, and around any object that was not attached to the ground.
After twenty minutes of searching I was sorting through the laundry machines at the center.
At the twenty-five minute mark when all-hope was lost...I was crumbling.  The thought of breaking her of the blankie habit, on top of dealing with everything else this weekend was more than I could handle.  The tears started flowing.  Those ladies at the daycare were so sweet through the whole ordeal.  Those women were emptying clear, see-through containers simply to humor me in an attempt to find these damn blankets.

I tried to compose myself.  I took a deep breath.  I tried to think about what she likes to do with them at home....and voila, after more than thirty minutes...I found them in a small backpack in the dress-up area.

I think about this and realize I must have looked ridiculous.  Thankfully I was not angry or rude.  I knew from the start it wasn't anyone's fault.

I just needed these two little items that bring me so much peace every evening.

I just wish I was one of those people that could respond to all of the situations I have dealt with this week, with grace.  Can I buy 'grace' somewhere?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011 have a 'break' day

...before the craziness sets in.

There are so many things to do when it is moving time.  There are the obvious things like: get medical/school records and contact the post office for an address change (this can be done on-line).

There are the dreaded things:  dealing with the movers, getting rid of the frozen foods, figuring out exactly what to do with that 1/2 empty gallon of paint.

There are the mundane things:  making phone calls, canceling the gym membership, calling the internet company, making hotel reservations


There are the fun things; the things that maybe weren't done often enough or possibly even at all.  That was what our day was like today.

I love running down by the river.  There is a perfect 2-3 mile loop that I like to run and we started our day with a family run (big kids bikes, little girls stroller).  And even better yet it was complaint free!  You see, every morning I list the kids chores for the day for them...and this was their chore.  Yup, it read, "Take a family bike ride/run down to the river without complaining".  I love it when I am clever like this!

We had a picnic at the creek behind our home (a treat in our backyard that we haven't taken nearly enough advantage of).  I'll post the pictures another day.  But it was lots of fun.  Meghan and Beth (old friends...our time here together was too short) joined me for P&J sandwiches, watermelon, and Isabella's fresh baked brownies.

Meghan helped with a 'moving task' that we fit in at nap time.  Well maybe we should call it 'time the three young ones spent upstairs without us supervising them'.  Let's just say despite several attempts on our part to make them rest, we were completely unsuccessful.  

Then my day was contentedly complete with family night at McDonald's with the Glen's...something that has nearly become a weekly tradition.

I needed today to give me the strength (or I chuckle as I remember what my grandpa would say, "intestinal fortitude") for what is to come...

It is  good to have good friends. stop crying

...not because any tragedy has happened (thank goodness)

But because of this....

The offer came late yesterday afternoon.  Of course, after the time which Mark had already gone to bed.  There are many details of the time-line that I won't bore you with. But the bottom line is we have the option to move our family into a lovely home before the school year will start.  And though in my heart, I want to stay here in my comfort zone (with friends that love me and take care of me) until Mark returns, I know the best long-term choice for our family is to go ahead and move.

I cried after I got off of the phone with the lady from housing....I wasn't even quite sure what she had said.

I cried after I told Isabella yesterday afternoon.  But I smiled at her response...

she thought that we should take the place since it had an electric garage door opener AND two peep holes in our front door (one at a child's height!)

I cried when Meghan called me while I was in Walmart to find out what I needed (after several missed phone calls and anxious texts from me).

I laughed when Isabella said, "Mom, seriously, get a grip.  There are people watching you.  This is SO embarrassing."

I composed myself for like five minutes driving to Meghan and Sean's house last night and fell apart when I walked in the door.

I could barely breathe I was sobbing so hard when Mark finally called the moment he saw my frantic emails to CALL ME.  ASAP.  I am certain quite worried about what I would tell him when he called.

I cried from the moment I woke up this morning until I was finally ready to head to work.  Thank goodness my children were not awake yet.

Then, unbeknownst to poor Martha I broke down as soon as she said good morning.  Bless that poor woman's stand-offish heart, she didn't know what to do with me.

The blubbering continued: when I talked to my mom, when I went to get a cup of coffee at my favorite coffee shop, when I saw Lisa, when I drove by the river, when I went to the housing office...poor woman she didn't know what to do with me either.

I was a wreck.  All-day.

I have talked with the persons that I need their support permission blessing to do this (Sean, Meghan, Lisa).

I have made my decision. 

I have printed, signed, and sent back all of the documents that I need to (this took me several hours instead of the twenty minutes I had anticipated). 

Despite the fact that I have feel like I want to throw up (frankly because I am not sure I can do this); I feel a sense of peace.

I have so many things I have to do...the two things weighing heaviest on my mind now is telling the few other close friends I have and figuring out how to help transition the families I work with.  I don't know where to start. But tomorrow will be the day we begin to say good-bye.

So it is with a very heavy heart that the kids and I will say adieu to this amazing historic house that we have made our home and set out on a new adventure.  I can only hope someday our children will learn (from this deployment and this relocation) that sometimes the right decisions are not the easy ones. 

Friday, August 12, 2011 have a peaceful day of travel was too much to ask.

I have a conference in Pittsburgh this weekend and Mark's parents agreed to babysit spend quality time with the kids while I worked.  The trip was supposed to take us about 5 hours of driving time so I assumed, after a few stops, it would be closer to 6 1/2 or so.

This was not my first rodeo.  All summer we have been rock star travelers.  Snacks, short stops, water bottles, and a potty seat.  Efficient although disheveled at the end of our travels.  Today, would have described us as broken.  The problems:

*Remember the pact I made the other day with myself about NOT going to the grocery store this week.  Well, consequently I didn't have a single raisin to give to any one person in my crew.  And the scene had been set...They were REQUIRING their snack bags right at the start of the trip.

*They didn't start out with their own color-coded water bottles.  This would make any person's day off to a bad start right?  We couldn't even find all four of them as we were scrambling out of the house this morning.

*I should have known it was going to be rough, when Audrey started repeating the phrase, "I want to go home, I want to go home, I want to go home" ten minutes into the trip.

*I had a show-down with Abigail right in the middle of Dunkin Donuts.  If you were to ask the patrons there who had won...they would have said her.  Wow.  That fit of hers was remarkable.  Unfortunately, I told her since her behavior was so poor she did not get to eat the donut she had picked out.  I stuck to my guns.  But she made us all want to jump out throw her out the car window.

Unfortunately for all of us, Audrey kept reminding Abigail, "Abbey, you no have good 'havior.  You no get to eat your donut."

We had traffic jams and arguments between the big kids, extra potty stops, and more traffic jams.  We have made it to Pittsburgh.  A little scarred and definitely weary.  Ready to pack in one final summer trip.

Check out the view (from the Duqesne Incline) was worth it.

Thursday, August 11, 2011 see The Help

...the movie was great!

On the way home from work this afternoon I picked up both dinner and my son from Meghan (she is too good to me/us).  I really loved the book.

Off the cuff I said, "Too bad Sean is at the Yankees game (you'll have to catch this story another day Mark) or we could go see The Help since it comes out in theaters today".

Obviously Sean made it back a little sooner than expected.

Lucky for Meghan and I.  It was so nice to get out for a few hours with her.

And the movie is really worth seeing. think about what makes me happy

...I love so many things.

I love:

Exercising AND showering before anyone wakes up in the morning.

The surprise of an extra email from mark in my inbox in the morning (my phone is the first thing I grab as I open my eyes in the morning).

My littlest sleeping so soundly (and sweetly) that I can now take photos of her!

The smiles of my big kids.

Abbey's dancing skills(see yesterday's post).

Fresh Flowers (from Mark to all of included!). Aren't they beautiful!

The surprise of NOT having to make dinner any of the evenings we are home this week! I am so lucky to have had a friend surprise me with a lasagna and this evening was a family picnic for EFMP and the Heart's Apart group.

The sound of the silence of the air conditioners! I despise the noise of them and much prefer opening my windows. And this evening is a perfect cool evening.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Hamilton St,West Point,United States

Tuesday, August 9, 2011 learn how to post a video

...yikes; I am not very good with computers.

However, I was able to finally figure it out.

Let me preface this by saying over the course of this week each of the electronic devices in our home are going haywire.

  1. The kids 8GB ipod doesn't work.  Simply won't turn on.  I was the last person to load some music on it and play it in their speaker system before we left on our trip to MI.  It worked fine then.  This won't even turn on.  No one has touched it as far as I can tell.  "Likely story", Mark would say.
  2. My new cell phone.  I have inherited Mark's iphone 4.  It works fine.  It hasn't make contact with any water.  Well none that the otter box (I have a pretty purple one!) hasn't been able to protect it from.  And it hasn't been dropped.  Well, no falls that the otter box hasn't protected it from.  But this damn phone is full.  So full I can't even download any more apps.  I have to delete pictures nearly as soon as I take them.  And video, well my computer can't download them because...see 3.
  3. My new laptop (well since Santa brought it this past Christmas) is full.  Yep.  Yes.  You got it.  It is so full, my email won't even download on it anymore.  As far as I can tell there are only 47GB of photos and this appears to me to be the largest culprit of memory.  Obviously, I am looking in the wrong places.
So you see...the fact that I was able to record a video AND figure out this You Tube thing is rather impressive.  

This evening as I was putting #4 to bed, my sweet #3 wanted to tell me a story.  If you were to watch the first of the two videos I took, she starts next to me looking at a book and then moves in front of the dresser. It is here that this video picks up.  Clearly, as you will see, the plot of the story is hard to follow but a cat and mirror are involved.

Warning:  Do not take a drink of soda while viewing this video, it is likely to spew out of your nose!

Monday, August 8, 2011

To enjoy the company of my friends

...we had lots of wine and great conversation through the weekend!

My friend Jess and I have been planning a road trip to our mutual friend Jean's house since we heard about our husband's getting ready to deploy. Pretty early in the summer we marked the weekend in our calendars! I can say it has been great (they may not since they have had to endure Audrey's fits and Abbey's mood swings)! But it is so nice to be on vacation with friends. Jean even mentioned how nice it was to be able to sit and have a second cup of coffee in the morning! Despite the chaos that nine children create, it was a very relaxing weekend!

For the most part, the kids (all nine of them) really played well together. They played lots of iPad and DS together (big kids) dress up and babies (little girls) watched some TV, played outside, and swam.

The Sowers belong to a really nice community pool and we were able to go there both days. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't very cooperative today and we weren't able to stay. But I did get a couple of pretty good group shots!

I only wish i had gotten more pictures!

-Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Camden St,Alexandria,United States

Thursday, August 4, 2011 give myself a little satisfaction least I am on the right path to reaching a few goals.


Kris is going to be so proud of me!

So it isn't much of a secret that I am not the best grocery shopper in the world.  Clipping a coupon is something that I have only heard about and making a grocery list...that is for people who can't remember what they need to buy at the store who don't forget the one item they went to the store for.  Oh...and the flyers that come in the mail weekly to tell you the specials at all of the local stores...they typically go right into the recycling bin.

Today I sat down at the kitchen table with the three flyers (Hannaford's, Shop Rite, and Price Chopper) with a pad of paper next to me.  I thumbed through the flyers writing down the prices of the items that I (probably) needed for the week.

I went to Wal-Mart...when you check out, you tell the check-out person the best price you saw in an ad, voila she gives you that price.  $5.99 lb. for Beef Tenderloin! $0.99 lb for grapes, $0.88 for 18 eggs.  All at one store.

Even I can do this!  And it didn't even require me to remember to bring my coupons (which I don't cut) or the advertisement.


Another quest of mine has been to clear my toiletries closet of the oodles of bottles of lotions and potions that I have.  Today another one was finished and went into the recycling bin.

I started with more bottles of lotion (Victoria's Secret, dry skin, sensitive skin, Burt's get the picture) that I could even count.  I had several samples of shampoos, soaps, and fancy face creams.  Three bottles of hairspray (I don't even use hairspray...sure is going to take a while to clear these out), two large containers of powder, three containers of Hydrogen Peroxide...we have been washing out a lot of cuts around here, etc...

My goal is to be able to contain all of my products to one small shelf.  I am on the right path.


Finally my last item for the day had to do with this '20' weeks to Wellness program that I have committed myself too.  One of the requirements for this first week was to chart all of the food that you are eating...every bite.  I know this certainly is a very effective way to begin to curb one's eating habits when you begin to see exactly the things that you consume...I reached my goal for today and that was to NOT have to write down anything after dinner.  I haven't had to.

....I am starving now!  At least it is time for bed.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011 have the tooth fairy come to our house

...she should come by anytime soon!

Because it has been so long since our children have have visited an ice cream parlour (at least five days), when we were invited to join our neighbors I couldn't pass up the opportunity.

As soon as we sat down...the drama commenced!

Tears, blood, a really wiggly tooth, and a mom who came to the rescue and pulled her first tooth ever!  Yuck!!  After a rinse of the mouth and a few tissues everyone was back to eating their ice cream.

And now #2 has a great story to tell!  "It wasn't an apple or popcorn or even a was ice cream..." well you get the picture.  Here is one happy little man.

Now only if the tooth fairy would remember to come this time...he will be even happier.

Monday, August 1, 2011 spend the day with Will

...we sure packed a lot in!

Our children have had a great summer.  They have traveled, played in the sun, swam, eaten lots of junk food.....

But they are sorely missing the most important guy in their life.  And despite the fact that they don't complain, I still feel the need to try to compensate for Mark being away.

That brings me to today.  I have felt as if maybe Will has been a little left out lately.  His little sisters always demand the attention and Isabella shines on her own and sometimes Will is content to stand back.  I had asked him many different times to join Isabella as horseback riding camp this week but turns out he doesn't really want to 'muck out' stalls.  Who can blame him!

So I took the opportunity to spend the time focusing on him.  I took the little girls to daycare this morning and we had fun!

First stop the gym.  More on this topic another day.  But for the first time in a very long time I worked out.  And Will got to play on his DS for an hour.  Without even reading for it!  (Our general rule is he has to read for as long as he wants to play (broken many times over this summer)).

After the gym...a snack of his choice: Roll-O McFlurry from McDonald's.

Then some time at the driving range.  Despite the incredible heat...he hit and putted balls for a long time!

Can see his serious expression?
 After golf we were off to pick up his sisters from daycare.

Next up, why cookies of course!  He made delicious Molasses cookies.  I should have taken a picture of the final product...he especially loved sifting (a step I usually love to exclude; but I knew he would enjoy it).

Our last activity for the afternoon was swimming at the gym.  We picked up Isabella and headed back for swimming in the pool.

Finally, we finished the day with some time reading together.  Even this activity is one that I am likely to dismiss after a long day (especially with the older two since they can read on their own).  This is probably one of the best times of days with the kids.  Mostly because they are trying their hardest NOT to have me leave the room and consequently they love to talk and share.  I would love to make laying with the kids at night for a few minutes a new priority.