Monday, April 30, 2012 try not to panic

...since this week has crept up on me much too quickly!

We have a lot going on.

Just like all families do.

And normally I go with the flow and am pretty laid back.

But I am starting to panic...the week is going to finish too quickly and I have way too many things competing to be completed.

For starters...I am finally working more.  Yea for finally getting to that number #3 on Mark's list of things for me to do before he gets home. 

Second, Mark is officially back to work.  Back in the real Army.  Way different than the Army he has been in for the past six years.  The kind you see on TV.  Scheduled PT.  Late nights.  Soldiers.  This is going to take some getting used to.

Finally, the kids have all started their activities.  This week we have to track soccer for three kids, baseball for two kids, and gymnastics for three kids.

Sounds like no problem?

Except William also has practice for his first communion every day after school this week.

And then there is the little matter that we have several family members and friends coming into town this weekend.

And the book fair.  Of course that is this week too.

So what in fact did I accomplish today?  Not much in terms of what I probably should have.

But I did manage to make these delicious lemon cupcakes with lemon curd filling!

And these fajitas for dinner.

Well at least we aren't anyway.

Besides cooking relaxes me.


Here's to hoping the rest of the week goes smoothly and: I don't leave a kid at soccer, forget to pick up Audrey from daycare, or put a leotard on Will for baseball.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

to report a conversation I overhead

...just as we were coming in from church this morning

Mark:  William come hang up your jacket!  Isabella, you too!  Abbey, put your shoes away.  Audrey pick up your book AND put your shoes away.  Didn't you all hear there was an election for a new sheriff.  All the votes are in...and I won!

Isabella:  Who voted?

William:  I vote for Mom.

Isabella:  I vote for omm too.

Audrey:  Who is not a part of the conversation at all....screeches "MOMMY!"

Mark:  My vote is worth five and a half.  So I win.

Isabella:  But Timber gets a vote too!

Mark:  Her vote is only worth a quarter.  So see...I still win.  Even if Mom votes for herself.

It is only a matter of time before Isabella devises a new voting system complete with registration and ballots.  At which point Mark will have to begin to explain how the electoral college works...and thus the fact that sometimes, the popular choice won't win in the end after all.

Saturday, April 28, 2012 will spring to come

...with blue ice pops

and a fire roaring in the background.


The stores all have their sunscreen, mosquito spray and ice pops on display.  And in particular the last item caught the eye of #3 at the commissary this week.

So I indulged her, hoping that they could eat these out-of-doors.

But alas...she had waited long enough.

The weather is still not warm.

Yet she could wait no longer for the chosen treat.

Here's to warmer days ahead...

Friday, April 27, 2012 begin to tell a story began a long time ago

Once upon a time, lets say...twenty years ago (April 27, 1992)....

There was this boy and this girl.

They went on a trip with some of their classmates from their respective schools.

There were about three hundred high school students from around the state of...lets say Michigan....that gathered at this hotel for a conference.

The organizers of the event led several groups in various icebreaker games in which forty or so participants were required to form a large circle.

The object of the game was to help the students meet each other.

One student was chosen to begin the game and that person would look carefully around to pick another boy/girl out; they were required to go up to this individual to say the phrase,
"Hey baby, I love you.  Would you smile for me?"  
If the participant broke into a smile they 'lost' and had to go into the middle of the circle and do this task to another person.

So my the story continues....

This boy, picked this particular girl, out of a crowd of many, many girls (the ratio was something like 1:5 in the boys favor).

She smiled.

A really big smile.

The boy smiled back.

Yup.  She was smitten.

Lunch was next on the agenda for this conference.

The students were supposed to be arranged at tables based on the months of their birthdays.

While the tables were being assigned, the boy said to his best friend (we'll say his name is Sean)
"If that girl's birthday is in May, I am going to marry her."
As fate would have it they did NOT get to have lunch together that afternoon.

The boy was too far back in the line.

However, the boy and the girl do share the same birthstone after all.

He met up with her somehow during that lunch hour.

Then the boy and the girl spent many, many hours together in those very few days.

The girl had to leave.  To go back to her hometown.

When this boy went back to his hometown many miles away he found that he had trouble eating and sleeping.

He was lovestruck.

So gaga, head-over-heels-in-love, he told his momma that he had met the girl he was going to marry someday.....

To Be Continued....

Thursday, April 26, 2012 spend some time with Will

...since baseball was canceled AGAIN.

The weather hasn't been the greatest since we have arrived home.  Consequently, three out of the four of the kids sporting nights this week have been canceled.  Tonight was the same story.  Cold and rainy.

Instead of sitting by the warm fire, I let Will badger me into taking me out to purchase a birthday present for a friend (and of course he had some money burning a hole in his pocket).  But first we had to make a detour to the ATT store (Mark's new iPhone is having troubles).

As we walked into the mall,
"Mom, Sometimes I just feel like I need to get out of the house you know.  Like where it is quiet."


I was a little worried that he would be bored, poorly behaved or impatient while I waited for them to help me with the phone.

Silly me...

I think that he would have waited all day and not said a word.

If only they would provide him a chair...

Best Night Ever.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012 breathe

...and try to get back into routine.

To say the time has gone quickly this month is an understatement.

I won't recap all of the details of the month, but in short we have been really busy.


Establishing new rules.


And establishing new rules.

You can imagine which items on the list the children have enjoyed most.

Mark informed the children that there was an upcoming election at the end of the month for a new sheriff in our home...and Mommy was NOT going to win.

There was lots of moans and groans at this news.

So in between the rules Mark and I have been traveling.

Thanks to my Dad for his incredible offer (to stay with our brood so Mark and I could get away) Mark and I were able to enjoy 6 days of peace.

The best thing about our time away was there were few time constraints.

We stayed at this charming hotel in Alexandria and enjoyed a few runs along the Potomac, bagels on our balcony, and wine at happy hour.

We took in a Nationals baseball game with a friend of Mark's from Afghanistan. (They won).
We met with another old Army friend at this highly recommended DC restaurant.
And met yet another friend of Mark's from Princeton for lunch on Friday afternoon.

The best part of our trip was our time with our dear friends the Brosnan's.  They also were able to pawn off their children Their children were spending quality time with their grandparents for the weekend and we were able to wine, dine, and talk uninterrupted until the wee hours of the mornings.

We also took a leisurely hike at the Great Falls Park, Va.

Who knew this gem was so close to the city?

We are going to miss our friends terribly as they are getting ready to embark on their newest Army journey...a tour in Burkina Faso, a small country in Africa.  Hopefully the stars will align and we'll be able to visit them maybe as soon as next summer.

Finally, the timeliness of our trip couldn't have been better.  Our newest nephew joined our family on Saturday evening, April 21st.  My brother and his wife welcomed Liam Ford Viele into their family.  And  Much to my dad's chagrin, he arrived before we began our trip back up to New York and thus we are able to make a little detour (adding another day to our trip) to Richmond to meet him.

Even better was our time spent with this cutie for the evening...

Big sister Eva
Now we are back.  Block leave is almost over.

It's time to establish a new routine, new rules, and get used to the new ruling Sheriff.

It might not be pretty.

I'll keep you posted.


Monday, April 16, 2012 be relieved

...that there is hope Audrey will find a suitor one day

Of course I say this in jest as I adore my littlest one, but she surely is a colorful child.

Yet today...while we were at the doctors' office she received her first flower from a young man:

He was a little camera shy as you can see, but he walked up to her quite confidently and handed her that lovely yellow flower in her hand.  It seemed he had picked it especially for her.

Audrey was smitten.

She carried this treasure around all morning.

A younger man.

Like mother.  Like daughter.

Sunday, April 15, 2012 catch up on the blog a bit

...I am not sure where the past week has gone

Well, actuallyI have a pretty good idea.

Since our trip we have spent the better part of this week really adjusting again to life as the Crow family.

I'll save my complete thoughts and comments on reintegration for another day but in short:  It is great to be a family again.

Some highlights from our weekend:

1)  Purging.  Letting go.

Bags and bags of clothing and other items (mostly steps) are out in Mark's truck ready to go to the clothing drive at ACS.

There is no way, without let's say...Mark's encouragement, that I would have made this much progress at any time.  Much less this weekend.

2) Sleeping in.

Not only did we not wake up until 8:00 each morning, this was the sight to behold me this morning at 9:00:

So sweet.  And miraculous!  

Not once while Mark was gone was I left uninterrupted in my room until 9:00 to read and relax before starting my day.

3) Errands.

The PX on a Sunday is a recurring nightmare of mine.  It's crazy busy and more often than not you can't find what you ran in for anyhow.

But having Mark along for the errand allowed the kids and I to enjoy a stroll through the chaos.

3)  Dinner out at a restaurant.

Not McDonalds or Ci Ci's but a sit down restaurant.

We enjoyed a delightful meal at the Texas Roadhouse.

Equally amazing:  Not a tear was shed or a tantrum had.  

4)  An evening nightcap.

Delightful!  So delicious.  

These Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Martini's were a treat that Meghan gave Mark and I to celebrate his homecoming.  The vodka spends several days curing with the peanut butter cups and then I followed a few simple directions to create these dreamy concoctions!

So this is a glimpse at the Crow Family's new normal....

Wednesday, April 11, 2012 share the photos of our 'big' girl day the city

Isabella and Abigail and I had such a great day in the city.

We took the train in to NYC last week to have brunch at the American Girl store.

My big girls...
The girls had so much fun enjoying their fancy lunch and indulging their dolls with lots of attention.


A kiddie cocktail is a perfect accompaniment to any meal!

We spent a very long time perusing the floors of this massive store for the perfect treasures to take home.

the loot
No tears.  Even from the endless walking!

Whining averted.  Even though Abbey didn't get to bring a new doll home and big sister did (she bought it with her own money).

A perfect day with my girls.

Fun memories.  

Even if they are too young to remember...I'll treasure this day for a very long time.

Sunday, April 8, 2012 celebrate Easter

...on a lovely Sunday morning in Michigan.

We did the usual Easter basket hunt,

searched for eggs (that were turns out white eggs are tricky to find!),

and went to see Nana after church.

We watched the Tigers finish sweeping the Red Sox!

And decorated Easter eggs....

Notice Will's new Fielder shirt!
What a lovely Easter Sunday.

Saturday, April 7, 2012 eat a 'dam' good lunch

...with Ellen and the kids at Dam Dogs in Rockford, Michigan


"This drink makes me feel like a man."

"I wish they had a damn dogs place at Fort Drum".

Love my little man.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012 drive and ride and drive some more

...since we took a little detour to Michigan this afternoon

We spent the past few days at West Point and had planned to head back home to Drum to welcome Mark parents for the weekend.

Only Mark felt as if he should get back to see his sweet Nana.  She just turned 92 this week and bless her heart, she isn't doing all that great.

We thought it would bring her great joy to see Mark and the little ones.

If only they brought us great joy in the car as well!

Since the trip was unplanned, this means we set off UNPREPARED!

The results are as follows:

Tired drivers:  Two
Time:  More than 12 hours.
Stops:  We lost track there was so many.
Times Abbey asked, "Are we there yet?":  certainly near 50
Snacks:  Only a few.  Oh dear.
Cranky kids:  Got 'em.  Four.
Children we threatened to leave at a gas station:  1
(Guess which one?  If you guessed #4 you are CORRECT)
Children who took a nap:  1

Unfortunately for everyone in the vehicle it was not #4 who napped.

Notice the dolls hand is IN her mouth???

The consequence of our day...

Mark is quite certain he now has PTSD from the ordeal he endured today.