Friday, September 30, 2011 find out all I could about skunks


This is my skunk.  Well not really...this is just an image I found.  But this one is identical to the one in my garage!

There happens to be a cat across the street that has adopted our home as her new residence.  So when Timber was crying at the door earlier, I really didn't think much about it.

I walked out to put some recycling into the garage...and there he was.  Let than a foot away.  Tail toward me.

My nightmare.

The stupid thing didn't hear me and I surely shut the door in a hurry.

After several frantic calls to my friend Amy, a rescue attempt from Donny (a most valiant effort) and lots of sitting around and waiting, I have determined the best I can do is hope the little bugger gets out of there by morning.  Surely he has family around....

Of course, maybe they all are nesting in my garage.

What a 'Welcome Home' for Mark.

It is important to note and I know it is shocking to hear, but the MP's do NOT in fact do anything to help with a skunk problem.  They might deal with dogs, or with bears (like at West Point) but oddly enough, they draw the line with skunks.

The lesson of the day...lock up the house before 10:00 in the evening.


From now on we'll be like Alcatraz by dusk.

Thursday, September 29, 2011 show off another room

...because they are all completed except for one (the office)

But I can't.

No time for blogging tonight.

I have work to do!  Projects to finish.  Things to tidy!

Mark will be in 48 hours EARLY!

I am not panicing.  Well I am, a little.  Mostly just frantic.  And super excited.  We all are.

At this point I expect him to arrive  in Syracruse on Saturday, late morning/early afternoon.

May 2011 (Back from his first week at Fort Drum).

Wednesday, September 28, 2011 share our excitement about Mark's R&R

...Mark will be home in just a few days (Monday).

In fact, I think as I write this, he has begun his travels.

As you can imagine I have been am still blazing helter-skelter through all of the projects and tasks on my to-do list in anticipation of Mark's arrival.

I want everything to be perfect.

I think to him, it probably is already perfect.

These are the things that Mark is coming home to in reverse order...


Lots of whining.
Plenty of fighting.
And enough "but I wanted...'s" to satiate him until his return.

Let's face it, because I am a softie.  And I am not much of a disciplinarian.

The BAD:

A list of projects including: mow the lawn, fix the lawnmower, fix the computer, set-up the remotes...
He gets to kill all of the bugs (especially crickets) and spiders that I find.
He can jump the van's battery when it dies...again.
And is most definitely his turn to : take the dog for a walk, pick up the doggie-do-do, and any other unpleasantry associated with the dog that I don't want to do.


I know, I feel sorry for him.  He shouldn't have to come home and do all of this work and deal with all of these things because he has been working so hard.  Well, while it is certainly true that he works extremely hard in Afghanistan, there he is not rewarded by:

Oodles of kisses and bunches of hugs.  He will be rewarded by plenty of both!

Besides he also gets to come home to:

A nearly settled new house home (when he gets here).
Home cooked meals that do NOT include shelf-stable milk.
AND no more diapers.  (Yup.  We haven't had any accidents around here in a long time!  Unless, you count Timber.)

I know he'll be more than happy to pitch in to help with the our chaos.

We have no set plans for his time here.  The kids lists include lots of wrestling and tickling.  The little girls has lots of songs they want to sing to him and stories they want to read to him.  We'll try to make enough memories these next fifteen days to last us for six more months..  We'll try to savor all of the moments.  And all the while he and I will both silently plead that the time go slowly.  Very slowly.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

...begin to prep for Mark's R&R homecoming

....on Monday!

The kids had a lot of fun with this project.
Preparing...It is embarrassing to note that we not only have one Hulk t-shirt but two (to ruin...and yep, the shorts to match)!

A masterpiece perhaps?  NOT likely, responds Isabella.

My absolute, new favorite photo.  For so many reasons.

No finished product photos though.

1) Because Mark is my biggest fan.  And it would spoil the kids' surprise for him!

2) Because it's not finished yet.

**I don't think that Martha Stewart is going to ask me for my techniques on how to paint a welcome home sign; but I have a feeling that whatever the final product becomes...will be the perfect one for Mark.

Monday, September 26, 2011 share a few more photos

...I am making progress.

And truth be told, I finished the dining room when my Dad was here.  So really, I have just been holding out on showing the pictures too lazy to upload the photos to my computer.

And, once again, please remember I haven't gotten the flash fixed on my camera.  And won't until after Mark leaves.  Until then, we'll have to deal with poor lighting on my indoor photos.

Moving along.

For the record, since its completion, the kids and I have not had a single dinner in here.  For that matter we haven't eaten breakfast or lunch either in this room.  I don't think that anyone even walks through this room.

And for that reason alone it just might be one of my favorites!  In fact, I love how it turned out and I never, ever, have to pick up so much as a cheese-stick wrapper from this room.  So, it IS my favorite room.

I digress.

Without further ado my dining room...

Over the buffet (which I got for a steal on Craigslist) is a beautiful oil painting that I came across (also on CL).  On the buffet, there are several vintage milk glass pieces (Mark LOVES milk glass...Do you sense my sarcasm?) and a few books I have found on E-bay that were authored by distant members of the Viele side of my family.

This is the view of the dining room from the front entry/living room.  To give credit where it is due, my Dad hung all of the pictures, curtains, and plates in this room.  Thanks Dad.

My growing, red-plate collection.  I love them...Some are vintage finds and some are 'souveniers' from the West Point gift shop that have been given to me from friends that stayed with us during our time at West Point.

Maybe a little better view of the room...On the table, my chickens and my lanterns.  (Side-note: Amy, click on the chicken link just to see what a little spray paint can do!)

Mark bought me these beautiful watercolor prints last year for Christmas.  Sacred Heart of Jesus Church and Washington Hall, a focal point of the Academy.

Stay tuned for more to come....

Sunday, September 25, 2011 talk about my "Ten Weeks to Wellness Plan"

...My team is eight weeks in and en total, the group has lost 73 pounds.

I, however, have barely contributed to the combined total.  At this point I have lost only five pounds.  This number hasn't changed since I left West Point.  I suppose I should be happy that I haven't gained any weight with the way I have been feeding my family; but, my calorie intake isn't a part of this story today.

My friend Beth recommended we do this together.  She thought it would be fun if we could motivate one another and maybe...if the stars and the moon aligned our schedules, we could even run together every now and then.

The plan began like this:  I paid $100 dollars to be part of this team.  In turn I receive motivational emails, and goals to reach each week.  The program is really well thought out.  However, the bottom line is the number of calories in has to be less than the number of calories burned.  This equals weight loss.  Simple math.  Not rocket science.

I am not using this blog entry to complain about my weight.  I don't consider myself fat.  I know however, that I would feel healthier, have a little more energy, and my clothes would fit better, if I were another ten pounds lighter.

The trainer of this program has the best of intentions and surely has tried her best to motivate me to try harder despite the circumstances and curve balls I was thrown these past eight weeks.

After politely explained why it wasn't really going to be possible for me to sign-up for a local race (e.g., 5K, 10K) she really encouraged me to sign up for one anyway.  She said it is really important to have a goal to train for.   Huh? My goal is merely to get out and run four days a week.  But, out-of-guilt I have looked (so far to no-avail) to find something close to try to participate in.

It wasn't supposed to be like this.  I wasn't supposed to have been here.  I wasn't supposed to have moved where I have no familiar babysitters.  Young girls who actually loved being around my kids.  And I could have called one of them at little more than a moments notice and someone would have been available for me...just so I could have gone for a run with Beth.

Instead, in order to exercise, this is what I had to do this morning...(frankly every time we go for a run)
1) Get breakfast for all of the kids.  And a simple bowl of cereal wasn't on the menu today (I really use this term menu loosely...remember my post from the other day?).  Instead, today the kids wanted poached eggs.
2) Clean up breakfast.
3) Hand out the morning medicines.  Isabella allergy regime.  Me, thyroid stuff.  And finally, Timber, pee-on-carpet regime.
4) Get everyone dressed.  At least Number 1 and Number 2 can do this on their own.
5) Fix everyone's hair so the wind doesn't blow it in their little mouths in the stroller.  This problem could make a run extremely miserable for me.
6) Make sure everyone went potty.
7) Gather snacks.  And water.  Because, god forbid someone get hungry or thirsty in the 30 minutes we plan on being away.
8) Get the little girls' shoes on.
9) Shove them out the door AND into their prospective riding arrangement.

Only today I wasn't fast enough on this last step and number four took the opportunity to hop on her own bike...took me ten minutes to coax her into the stroller.

10) Get the little ones in the stroller.
11) Don't let me forget to mention that I had to hook Timber up and bring her along as well....

And can I talk about the empathetic looks I get while I run down the road with my two older children (all of 6 and 8) riding in front of me while pushing my two younger children (all 35 and 25 pounds of them) while towing the dog along?  The persons in their vehicles have these sweet 'feeling sorry for you' smiles on their faces and the meaning behind their eyes is something like, "Lady, you must be flippin' crazy!"

I haven't even mentioned the moans and the groans I have to endure from the peanut gallery..."Are we going that far?  Why can't we go the short way?  Do we have to?  I want to ride my scooter!  Can't I stay home?  (You get the picture...)

Anyhow, I get the simple math structure of calories in vs. calories out.  But seriously, can't the little calorie counter in my body have a little mercy?  

Calorie counter...please have a little mercy on me.  
I am trying.  
I surely get an A for effort.  
I mean REALLY, I have burned more calories just trying to shove everyone out the freaking door than I probably do while I am running!

I am just sayin'....

Friday, September 23, 2011 rebound

...and today I 'got my game on'.

I had a plan.  And stuck to it.

A run on my treadmill.  A quick Timber walk.  And a shower all before the kids woke up at 7.

This kind of accomplishment always sets me up for success for the rest of the day.

Unfortunately I have LOTS of excuses as to why I don't like to get up early enough to do this but I do need to try to remember how great it is to not have to fit this in later in the day.

The rest of the day fell into place just as nicely.

The little girls painted.  I vacuumed the downstairs.

The little girls ate a snack.  I drank a whole cup of coffee.  At once!

The little girls played upstairs.  I worked on the condemned zone of our house.

The little girls napped.  I made zucchini bread and managed to even post some things on Craigslist.

The little girls woke up.  The big kids came home.  We hosted a couple of kids from school for play-dates with the big kids.


I made a real dinner.  Well...almost.

Tacos.  Does this count?  What if I said I  made guacamole and threw in black beans in the hamburger just to add a little protein?

I say this TOTALLY counts.

Thursday, September 22, 2011 confess

...words cannot express the lows I have sunk to this week.

Only pictures can....

Think dinner.

Dairy?  And definitely notice they are SHARING!

I cannot come up with a single good quality about this dinner choice.
Monday = Ice cream

What can I say except "The jingle-guy-ice-cream-truck" drove by at 5:30.
And I am spineless.

Tuesday = Subway

We were on our way home from running errands at 5:00.  Who wants to cook this late?
Meatball Subs for the kids.  Lots of protein!

Wednesday = Leftovers that only I ate.

Although this evening's meal should be noted as a valiant effort on my part.  I did make fresh broccoli.  AND left-over chicken-noodle casserole (which by the way happens to be one of my FAVORITE meals).  Apparently no one else likes it.

They must have been fasting for tonight's stellar meal of choice.

Thursday = Rock bottom.

Again I was out running errands all day.  Why should I cook for a bunch of thankless ingrates?

Instead we did this:

#3~examining her choice.  She might be thinking "Is this stuff really food?"
#1-intently examining her choices....
#2~Dinner and a Movie!  He is loving both!
#4~"What could be better?"

McDonald's.  In the car.  While watching a movie.  Parked in a parking lot.

Simply because I didn't want to bring the mess into my house, deal with the girls in the restaurant, and shlep all of them in and out of the car.

Clearly I need a reset button.

Tomorrow is another day.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011 do a task I have never done

...I DID IT!

I am really proud of myself to say that I solved a problem, start to finish, about my car without consulting Mark, my dad, my brother, or my father-in-law, or my neighbor.

Now first I should preface this story with the fact that I am not necessarily proud of the fact that I have never done this.  I have watched others do this several times.  In fact I watched my neighbor do it for me just a few weeks ago.  And I was determined not to call on him to jump start my van...again.

I wish I knew why the battery had died today.  I have no idea.  It doesn't really matter.

I just know when I got the girls all loaded up this morning to run our errands, there was the familiar click when I turned the key.


I am proud because frankly I didn't get upset.  Not even a little irritated.

I just traded vehicles, schlepped the girls off to daycare, took care of the errands I needed to run and then came home to tackle my problem.

I thought about calling on Donny. Or even calling USAA (after all its free right?).

I have come to learn that I can google just about anything.  Voila.  Google to the rescue.

I have read stories of women who are incredibly independent and handy.  I think it is admirable there are women who change the oil in their cars, put together their children's play sets, and many even are handy with power tools.  I have always admired them.  Not that I really wanted to do these tasks.  Because frankly, I have always had the men in my life willing to do these tasks for me (case in point, both my father-in-law and my dad took care of the lawn while they were here).

I can run a lawn mower and a weed wacker just as well as most any person.  (Is this not what a trimmer is really called?  The spell-check is showing an error?)  These are just not jobs that I choose to squeeze into my generally full days.

The van issue...out-of-my-box.

Yea for me!  Problem solved.  No neighbor bothered.  And now I can add 'can jump-start a vehicle' to my resume.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 listen to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star 0430.

If you can't tell military time the translation is 4:30 IN THE MORNING!

Well, I didn't really want to listen to that song at that time in the morning but Abbey woke up and had to go potty.

Then Audrey had to get up and go potty.

Then they were both awake.


Everyone was awake.

Woo hoo!

And singing.

Even better.

"Twinkle Twinkle little star how i wonder...twinkle twinkle little star"

After a few unsuccessful attempts at 'shushing them' they finally quieted down and fell back asleep.

But guess who didn't?


Because just as I was getting close to going back to 'la-la' land...guess what I heard?

The first morning bugle call.  Go ahead click on the link...but try it at 0530.  Sharp.  But if you listen to it make sure to turn up your volume loudly just to give you a better idea of my life.

I love living on a military post again.

Monday, September 19, 2011 say I found the backpack!


Dumb movers.

They stuck the backpack in a tub of Will's projects.

Dumb me for searching box after box after box after the garage.

Don't ask me how I found it.

In a clear tub.

In the middle of Will's bedroom.

It had been under Will's bed.  But for the past several days this tub had been in the middle of his room.  (I told you it was messy a disaster condemned up there!)

I walked into Will's bedroom last night (yes, I suppose it was in here the whole time) and that tub (which had been under his bed) was still in the middle of his room.

And at some point...dumb me...looked down.


Stupid backpack.



Sunday, September 18, 2011 give you an idea of a few accomplishments

...because I finally picked up my camera and snapped a few photos

We have been here at Fort Drum for three weeks now.  Tuesday we'll have had our household goods for three weeks as well.

My timeline is pretty short for myself when it comes to completing the move-in process.  And by no calculation have I even come close to making my deadline.  I like to be completely finished in two weeks.

I wish despite my four little excuses (they are between the ages of 2 and 8) that I was finished.

Not because I have anyone to show our new house to ( more visitors in sight and no friends to speak of besides Amy)...but because I am happy when things (toys, clothes, LEGOS (anyone ever stepped on one of these in the middle of the night???) have their place.

Well my dad just left after working for several days on a whole bunch of different projects around the house.  I wanted to dub him the 'finisher' (but since we aren't finished, that title doesn't work) and instead I can call him 'the fine touch-upper'.  This included things like curtains, pictures, heavy moving, mowing, play set building, and fan-in-ceiling-dissassembling.

While my dad did those things I continued to move junk from one place to another.  Currently the last junk-area-holdout on the first floor is the 'office'.    I should have taken a picture of this one...

Today's photos are of my bedroom.  There are still several things I need to change and some details that i need to add but here goes...

Please excuse the poor photos.  I am still having trouble with my camera flash.

My bed stand.
A print that I love.  A photo of my mom from when she was a toddler.  And two of the four books that I am currently reading.

Mark's night stand. 
The lamp was a wedding gift from Uncle Andy and Aunt Sandy (still one of my favorite lamps), the candlestick a gift from Jason after a trip to Africa, and the duck (yes...a little funny looking) is something my brother gave me as a gift years ago.
The shades will have to be recovered. 
The bible on the dresser was my great-grandfathers.  I love this heirloom.
The bedding will need to be updated.  And curtains?  For now the vertical blinds will do.
Looking into my walk-in closet.  Even my treadmill fits!
That photo on the wall is a collage that my friend Kelley made for me (of us running) when we left Colorado.  I put it there next to my treadmill to motivate me and maybe remind me of my healthier skinnier days.

And here is my you remember the shot from the other day?  Here it is now...

A well-lit bathroom with plenty of space.
I found these treasures (old mason jars) at a thrift shop last week.
My re-done 'laundry soap holder' table has been repurposed.
The table is the same color as our bedroom so it coordinates nicely.  I found these dark blue baskets to hold towels and TP b/c despite the double sinks there isn't much storage in here.

Finally the cutest thing(s) about todays photos...

They all still fit!
More progress to note another day....

Thursday, September 15, 2011 meet some new ladies

...which I have been avoiding for a few weeks now

I don't know why.  I have always loved living on post and meeting other families.  This is one of the main reasons why I chose to move here on such short notice.  Because I have made so many good friends over the years living on post.

And I have always enjoyed meeting the spouses in Mark's units over the years as well.

So aside from the fact that I really want my time here at Fort Drum to be about my family and not my extra-curricular activities, I have no reason for not wanting to make new friends.  Other than it is my hold-out on this move and my way of pouting for a bit longer.  And, for the record, as Mark can attest, I am a really good 'pouter'.

But for some reason this time I was trying to tell myself that I just wanted to stay out-of-the-loop.

Well if you know anything about know that I am not really a stay out-of-the-loop kind of person.

Anyhow, one of the mom's from Isabella's brownie troop (that by-the-way I am NOT the leader of) introduced herself to me last night.  Somehow recognizing who I was and that our husband's worked together.  She was kind enough not only to tell me that there was a coffee this evening, but also offered to pick me up.

I have four (#1, #2, #3, and #4) very good reasons not to good...and many other reasons I could have made up.  But, my dad was here and I thought like many other recent events...that all of the pieces were falling into place and I should go.

I had a very nice time.  The ladies (it was a small group of nine of us) were all very welcoming.

As a bonus, it was a great opportunity to see a little bit of a very sweet little nearby town called Sacket's Harbor.  We had dinner at a lovely restaurant called The Boat House.  The food was delicious.  And the chocolate souffle...amazing!

So while I wouldn't say I am now in-the-loop nor have I made any new life-long friends over dinner, but I would be willing to say, that maybe I am done pouting and ready to embrace our new-life here at Fort Drum.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011 read The Three Little Pigs again

...and again and again.  Who knew re-reading a story would be so much fun!

Last week when we were 'treasure hunting' at a local antique shop Abbey picked up a copy of The Three Little Pigs.

Since I have a obsession with books and a fascination for vintage copies of favorites I indulged my number three.

Our copy (in nearly perfect condition)...the lady at the shop gave it to her for free.

Little did I realize that this story would become so much fun for us to read together...

Both little girls now tell the story and fill in with the phrases "someone is watching...someone who wikes to eat wittle pigs" and "not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin" and they laugh and laugh.

Somehow I came across the old Disney movie on Apple TV.  The girls have also really enjoyed watching this short video that goes right along with our story.  At $1.99 the movie has been quite a has afforded me exactly eight minutes of task completion time on several different occasions!

Take a look...I bet you remember watching this as a kid.  I do!

Monday, September 12, 2011 acknowledge the crazy lady

...and put her away for another day

There are some moments when I feel like I am making quite a bit of progress on this move and others (especially of late) when the whole task seems completely overwhelming.

overwhelming = stressful

Let me tell you what stressful is.  Stressful is not being able to find a hairbrush in the morning (when trying to send the kids off to school) despite the fact that we have no less than five of them.

Because....the bathroom looks like this:

I maintain that the movers did this.  And I am sticking to my story.

Will's comment:  "What exploded in here?"

Who likes this kid anyway?

I feel like I work in spurts...mostly when the little girls are napping or when everyone else is sleeping.  This means of course that I am not sleeping.  And then I am not well rested and there are so many thing to do and then of course I am grumpy and then...well you get the picture.

I was eaves-dropping on Isabella when she was talking to Mark on the phone yesterday (well really she was talking to him on the speaker phone and I was sitting next to her).  And she made a comment that struck me.  It was something like, "Well the crazy lady has come out quite a bit more since we have moved here."

I had to chuckle, because at least she too can find a little humor in my stress.

And Mark's response was something like, "The next time you start to see the 'crazy lady' come out, stand there and count to ten out loud at her (as if I wasn't standing there listening to them have this conversation about me)."

So later in the afternoon, there  I was having some kind of altercation with Abigail.

Let me tell number three, really knows how to push my buttons.

Well Isabella was witness to my 'growing frustrations' and sure enough as I tune into her voice I hear, "nine...ten...eleven...twelve".

And there...she brought me back down.

Brought my awareness back to a level of recognition that I was dealing with a three-year-old.

And who can argue or for that matter win when dealing with a three-year-old.  And certainly there is not much use in getting too upset over it!

Thank you Isabella (and of course Mark) for that little reminder.

Friday, September 9, 2011

...take a break I took a hiatus from the disaster zone

And hung with the little girls.

We did some errands, went treasure hunting (and found a few pieces more on these another day!) and completed our morning with a Starbucks stop!

After a nap for the girls, a bit of spray painting for me, one more room (albeit a small one), some time at the park and lots of time in the sun today....

I am refreshed.

Ready for a weekend without deadlines for bedtime, time for the kids, and of course a few more projects.

Location:Fort Drum,Fort Drum,United States

Thursday, September 8, 2011

...note the unhappy

...not because we need pity; but because this is what it is like to have to start over.  Again.

So the weather here has been miserable.  I don't think that it is really helping our demeanors...

But for the past two days there has been a different kind of cloud looming.

Our honeymoon is over.

The bliss of living in a new home, being able to check out a new neighborhood, and explore new boundaries has worn off.

The excitement of starting a new school has been replaced with trepidation of unfamiliar routines.

For me, the excitement of seeing my choices of colors transform our 'military housing assignment' into 'my home' has dissipated.

The satisfaction of seeing substantial progress as I unpack each day has morphed into despair as the projects are now so numerous I don't even know where to begin.

My composure is wavering.  Their patience is thin.  The little girls are whiny.  Isabella is short tempered.   Will is non-compliant.

Before I go on, you should note that at night, when I finally get all four of the kids to bed,  I am done.  Finished.  I do not want to hear them talking.  I do not want to get them another drink of water.  I do not want them to get up to go potty.  And I definitely do not want to be called back in to cover them back up again.  I want to talk for a moment or two, read our stories and then go off to complete all of the other tasks on my evening to-do list.  And drop into bed myself.

Well, last night when I went on a second round of 'good-nights' to tuck my Isabella into bed I found her crying.  My firstborn has a soft heart like I do....and I try so hard to let her know it is OK to cry.  So most days I would have just given her some comfort and then let her have some time alone.

But last night...last night I think I needed her as much as she need me.  So I laid down next to her.  And I listened to her pour out her heart.  So much has happened in such a short time.  And her little heart was broken.

She cried about everything: missing Sacred Heart, missing Mrs. Hornberger, missing her best friend Anna, missing the familiar.  Then, on top of all of this heartache, she missed her dad, "because if he were here everything would be a little bit better.  Instead, it is even worse."

I didn't know what to say to my little girl.  There is nothing I can do to take any of this hurt away.  So I just laid with her, and wrapped my arms around her, and just started to cry with her.  Because frankly, I miss all of those things too.  I miss her old, comfortable school.  I miss her loving, grandmotherly teacher.  I really miss having Anna around all the time.  And I really, really miss her dad.  Because she is right; he would make everything better.

I know that when we leave here in two years, we'll be very sad.  Because life here will become that kind of familiar.  That kind of comfortable.  This fact, doesn't take away the hurt in my little girl's heart.  Or help her find a best friend...these things take time.  And time if you are an eternity.

So sometimes it is OK to recognize that sometimes our situation stinks.

And last night we just cried together.  I didn't fix anything.  Or give her any notable words of wisdom.  I just told her that I loved her.  And that I was sad too.

I hope last night teaches her that crying is OK.  That while I can't fix her troubles, I really do understand her sadness, how she is unsure, and how missing the familiar can be so unbearable.

And today...although the sun still wasn't shining and our moods were still dim, we all were a little less edgy.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011 send my kids off to a new school

...i wish I could say I have set them up for success.

But I haven't.  Here they are the new kids.  They aren't even wearing the right uniform (although Will has on a token sweatshirt found from the uniform lending closet).  Nope.  Not only are they starting off as the new kids, but they are the new kids without uniforms OR school supplies.  Ugh.  I already fail.  And to top it off...despite some frantic last minute searches...still no backpack for Will.

I do not like starting off with something new already trying to catch up.  Hopefully to them, this are just a few little glitches.

I am so nervous for them.  I want their teachers to love them for their quirks as well as their gifts.  I want them to make friends.  Fit in.  Laugh.  Feel like they know their way around that strange place.  Find comfort in a smile from someone.  Stay together.  Stick up for each other.  School is so much more than academics.

But this day is not about me.  It is about these darlings...

First Grade!

Third Grade!
From their point of view:

They had a good breakfast.  A pretty peaceful morning.  They packed up their backpacks, slipped them on and headed to the bus stop.  Butterflies in stomach.  Together.  Ready to find out what first and third grade is all about.

Here they are setting off to make new friends and blaze a new trail.  The little girls not far behind...both literally and figuratively.

I was able to snap this quick photo, my favorite of the day, on the walk to the bus stop.

I love her smile in this candid shot.

Monday, September 5, 2011 reflect on what is good.

...there are so many good things.

I was having a really hard time being cheerful this evening.  My children start their first day of school tomorrow and I had VISIONS of how this evening was supposed to play out.  The vision:  By 7:30 this evening my cherubs were supposed to have been freshly scrubbed, with rosy cheeks readily awaiting their stories.  Their backpacks and shoes would be lined up at the door and their lunches would be ready in the fridge.

Let me tell you that is NOT how this evening even began much less ended.  While they may have made their lunches, we needed to search to find their lunch boxes.  Nope not door number one.  Nope not door number two.  Yea!  Success with door number three!

You get the picture.  At seven o'clock we began the quest to solve, THE CASE OF THE MISSING BACKPACK.

I think their are children's novels with titles like this.  

I worked like a detective.  I checked rooms where it should have been.  I searched boxes in rooms that were close to when the item was last seen.  I opened and searched in nearly every box in this entire home.  I asked the big kids "Where did you see this backpack at West Point?  In the front closet, in the trunk room?  Where??? TELL ME WHERE!"

Two hours.  More boxes than I care to admit.  Still no backpack.  Damn movers.

I can also tell you that my vision.....well you get the picture.  

So instead of trying to reflect on how my day ended, I wanted to reflect on what is good.  Here we go.

1) All of the help I have had with this move.  On both ends.  Meghan, Lisa, Denise, Martha, Elizabeth, Karen, Jason, Fred, Amy, Joelle....

Help is good.  Accepting and welcoming and being so thankful for it...even better.

2) Watching Isabella begin to jump in and do things just because she sees they need to be done.  The little things are the most important:  helping Audrey put her shoes on, sharing something with Will, giving Timber lots of special attention.

Caring is good. 

3)  I told Audrey that she was 'stinkin' cute'.  She said, "I not stinky momma.  Baby's is stinky!"

It is good Audrey is not stinky.

4) Will told Mark that it was so cool our house has carpet that is 'stuck to the floor'.

It is good to have carpet stuck to the floor.

5) Will told Mark that our house "EVEN COMES with a kitchen!"

It is good to have a house with a kitchen.

6) Isabella and I spent some great quality time together working on some projects.  

Concrete and spray paint are good.  Especially if you are eight.  If you are a mom appreciating that time with your daughter....they are even better.

7) Will and I were discussing the pros and cons of our new home and I was being a bit pessimistic.  

Me: "Well I miss having the six fireplaces (I know... that even reads snobby)."  
Will's response: "WELL...we only used ONE.  AND we have ONE at this house.  AaaaNnnnD all you have to do with this one is flip a switch.

Ouch.  He is right.  Switches are good.


8)  Me:  "Well at West Point we could walk from our house into town to get ice cream.  We can't walk to do that here because it is too far."

Will:  "Well here, the ice cream truck comes right to our house."

Yup.  Right again.  Ice cream truck jingle man is good.

9)  Today in the truck.  Abbey:  "I love my chapstick."  Me:  "Daddy likes chapstick just like you Abbey."  Abbey:  "He does?"  Me:  "Yes he carries it all the time."  Abbey: "Mom, can we send daddy some new chapstick.  So we can be the same.  Then he can remember me.  I love my daddy."  Me (with tears in my eyes):  "Yes Abbey. Tomorrow.  He remembers honey.  I promise."

Chapstick is good.  

10) The kids and I have had a great summer traveling and spending time together and doing fun things.  We have made a crazy move and are beginning the Fort Drum chapter.  Tomorrow, Mark left three months ago. 

Three down is good.