Monday, September 30, 2013 coach soccer

...even though I am not exactly...good at it.

To say that is an understatement.

You see...I have never actually played in a soccer game.  I have never played in a soccer match.  In fact I don't even really know the correct terminology for this said sport.

If you know me than you probably are aware of how exactly un-coordinated I am.  You might have seen me run.  (I may do this several days a week but I am NOT good at this.)  You may have even possibly seen me kick a soccer ball once or twice with my kids.  But you have never seen me kick and run at the same time.

I am not sure I am actually capable of this feat.

But guess who is the head soccer coach for Will's soccer team this fall?

Yep.  Your's truly.

I didn't ask to be the coach.

Oh no.

I volunteered to be an assistant coach for Abbey and Audrey's soccer team.  You know where my responsibilities might include tasks like behavior management of the little buggers on the bench.

I am really good at that task.

Or perhaps even double tying the laces of soccer cleats.  I know I would get an A+ on this task.

But...running soccer drills.  Nope.

Or setting up scrimmages.  Uh uh.

Thank goodness for You-Tube.  And teach-me-soccer-drills dot com.

So each night I have set out with a plan featuring warm-ups, passing drills, kicking sets, and various soccer-ish games.  The kids are running, playing, and they even managing to kick the soccer ball here and there.

My son is thrilled I am his coach.  He doesn't seem to care that I have no.idea.whatsoever. what I am doing.

And he's the reason why I was crazy enough to agree to this nonsense.

Sunday, September 29, 2013 enjoy a road trip to NJ

...and spend time in NJ.

Mark had a extra day off this weekend.  So...instead of relaxing and resting like he probably needed to, we took a trip to Princeton.

Mark had to take the GRE and wanted to meet with some folks at Princeton.

The kids and I had so much fun hangin' with the Whitlock family again...and we even got to celebrate Michael's birthday.

Here's the sweet birthday boy.  S-I-X.  

While Mark was off taking the GRE the four Crow children were experiencing a taste of homeschooling...

And I got to watch this little guy for the morning while Kristen worked for a few hours.  I kept hearing this little two-year-old-to-be was 'trouble'...

He wasn't.  He was perfectly adorable.

Later that afternoon the ice-cream man drove by...


Crazy to think that since our two families became friends (when Mark and I first moved to Princeton in 2006) the size of this crew has doubled.

How lucky we are to not only still be friends but that all of our kids are such good friends as well!

Now...if only we can convince Mark that Princeton in the school to choose!

VOTE Princeton 2015!!

Monday, September 23, 2013 attend the deployment ceremony

...and to appreciate the pomp and circumstance.

Today was the unit's deployment ceremony.

It was a sunny, crisp fall morning.  Perfect day in the north country.

Its hard to describe what the point of a deployment ceremony is for...I am certain there are many official reasons but as a spouse it means: an opportunity for the community to show support (there were several official dignitaries present), for the unit to demonstrate readiness (for the family members present), and for the unit flags to be 'cased'.  This means that the unit is done with its purpose here at Fort Drum and when the colors arrive in Afghanistan they'll be 'un-cased' and will fly again to mark the unit's mission and purpose there. 

Each of the battalion's flags were cased (there are six battalions).  You can see one of the battalions in the background of the photo below AND you might also notice the flag is now canvased.

And last, the Brigade flag was cased.

The flag is being rolled

The canvas is being place over the flag
The Anthem is played at the beginning of the ceremony and the 10th Mountain Division song is played at the end.  Last, the Army song is played to conclude the ceremony.

It was a really nice ceremony.  In case you are wondering, it took about 40 minutes.  The soldiers did not march...they were all already in place when the guests began to arrive.

I wish I had gotten a photo of all the soldiers in place.  It is really quite impressive to see the big picture.

However, my vantage point was quite limited and in that formal of a setting it isn't exactly appropriate to stand up and zoom to the front to capture Kodak moments.  It took all of my will power not to stand up and do this.  Something tells me someone may have noticed if I had done this.... particular the guy third from the left
It's hard to describe the emotions I went through today.  
  • Of course I am proud.  So proud.  I wish I could express this more eloquently.
  • I am confident.  I know that Mark is a great husband and father no matter how far away he is.
  • I am worried.  Worried about our kids.  They are tough...that is true.  But they are also very deep thinkers.
  • I am sad.  So sad.  My heart breaks each time I watch him give one of our children a kiss.
This morning I watched as one of our neighbor's walked his little girl to the bus stop.  She is about Isabella's age.  I realized almost right away that this was his good-bye.  As the bus was arriving that little girl jumped into his arms and wrapped her arms around his neck so tight.  I think she was trying to give him a hug that would carry him through the long nine months he was to be away.  That hug...that goodbye...broke my heart.

I have no idea how I am going to watch our four babies bravely let their daddy leave again in a few short weeks.

I think my heart is going to break many times more.

he's third from the left again...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 get it together

...the house, the routine...

Since school has gone into session our home is CHA-O-TIC.

I thought the start of school meant routines, schedules, drowsy children in the evenings.

As my grandpa would have said....


I am going to be honest...

I am NOT going to win mother-of-the-year.
In fact, I am quite certain I am not even allowed (according to my four-year-old) to be a contestant.

Let me explain (all from today):

Scenario 1

My little girls wanted to be enrolled in dance class.  I started them at this small dance studio in a nearby town.  For two weeks now I have schlepped child #4 and child #3 back and forth to their two classes.  They love these classes!  They can't wait for these classes.  They even dress in cute little dance outfits for these classes.  This evening after said class daughter number four said,

Audrey: "Mom I thought you said you were going to sign me up for dance class?"
Me:  "Um...we were just at dance Audrey."
Audrey:  "Mom, when are you going to take us to REAL dance classes?  You know with a real dance teacher!  This class is NOT a real dance class.  A real dance teacher has to wear real dancing clothes and she has to dance...FOR-REAL!!"


Dance class.  F

Scenario 2

I have learned that lists seems to work well in our house.  I am certain I have mentioned this several times.  The kids have a morning routine list and an after school routine list.

The LIST is supposed to take the place of my nagging.  A typical list in the morning looks like this:

Get dressed.
Make bed.
Pack backpack.
Eat breakfast
Brush Teeth
Comb Hair
Put on Shoes.

I feel like the list is pretty all-inclusive for the morning.  For the most part I leave them alone as long as they appear to be making progress on this list.  This morning when it was time to leave for the bus, #2 wasn't ready to go.  Apparently he couldn't find his shoes to put them on.  (He left them outside by the trampoline yesterday afternoon).

"Mom, I was going to put my shoes on but I couldn't find should put 'find shoes' on the list and then I would have been ready."


List creating:  F

Scenario 3


Let me translate:

Dinner time.
Bath time.
Bed time.

Its all one not-very-fun-period-of-time in our house.

Whining.  Pleading.  Yelling.

And those are my behaviors.

Add the kids to the mess and you get:  Pushing.  Swiping.  Poking.  Scratching.

When I walk up the stairs now in the evening during this super-stressful period of time Abbey likes to ask,

"Mom, are you turning into a witch yet?"


Calm & Peaceful evenings:  F

Sunday, September 15, 2013 visit the Cider Mill

...what a great time spent together today!

There is a local Cider Mill and while it is small, the kids look forward to going to it each year!  There is nothing quite like fresh apple cider and hot donuts on a brisk fall morning.

And of course nothing like your mom, starting the morning off by making you all pose for the camera:

Neither photo was successful...

However, the apples were perfect!

I think Audrey filled the entire bag herself!  

The donuts 'o' mazing!  (As you can see by Audrey and Paddy's expressions!)

And the company was delightful...

And I even got to pose with my delighted Kindergartener!

Here is another mandatory attempt at capturing our familial bliss...

After we visited the cider mill we headed Thompson Park in Watertown.  The kids had a great time playing on the equipment...

trying out the monkey bars:

going down the slide:

getting serious about races:

persevering to win them:

and yes...playing for a long while in the rocks.

We were lucky to have spent such a great morning together.

Monday, September 9, 2013 get started on a new project

...isn't it lovely! is going to be.

I have been searching for one of these beauties for a long while.

I am not going lie, this piece in a rough shape.  I see lots of sanding and polishing in my future.

But when its finished it will be perfect.

Perfect for what I am not sure.

My original intent, when I began looking for an old card catalog, was to find a way to organize all of my girls' American Girl doll clothes by outfit.  Silly maybe.  However, as I have mentioned before, I like 'things' to have all their pieces.  The small drawers (complete with the dividers in the middle) would be a functional way to store the outfits.

However, I think this piece is going to be way too nice to hide in the toy room.

Maybe it will go into our entryway to store hats and gloves?  Maybe near the office to hide office supplies?  Maybe near the laundry room to hide treasures found?

No matter.

I think it's going to be a while before I need to find a place for it.

Sunday, September 8, 2013 enjoy the lovely evening

...with Mark's coworkers and their spouses

Mark and I decided to host a gathering with all of the field grade officers and their spouses (about 50 people) in the brigade this past weekend.  There are many new majors to the brigade (6 battalions and several SFAT teams) and we thought it would be a great opportunity for them to mingle in a casual environment before the impending deployment next month.

I wanted the evening to be low-key and comfortable for our guests.

I mulled over the menu (and consulted my friend Kris (who is an amazing chef) for quite a while before I settled on...

Main Dishes

  • Baked Carnitas (these were a huge hit)
  • Taquitos
  • Taco Salad
these were served with Cilantro Dip & Taco Salad Dressing.


  • Queso
  • Taco Dip
  • Buffalo Dip
  • Guacamole 


  • Fruit Pastry
  • Cream Cheese and Chocolate Chip Cake
  • Pretzel bites (Peanut butter and chocolate chip cookie dough)
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies

I was worried about so many things...
-having enough food (there was plenty (too much taco salad).
-serving it hot (thank goodness Amy & Meghan were willing to pre-heat their ovens!)
-traffic flow (no troubles)
-being able to mingle (thanks to our sitter I was definitely able to enjoy myself).

Here are a few photos of the evening:

the backyard transformed
drink area

S'more station

another view

the fire pit

serving ware

the living area
the main food area
The evening would not have been a success with Meghan's late night help frying taquitos, Donnie's help setting up chairs, Amy's help assembling taco salads and fruit pastries, and Carolyn's help behind the scenes for the duration of the event (refilling platters, keeping the food hot, washing dishes).

Meghan also made the most amazing dessert kidding the guests were raving about the pretzel bites AND she stomped through the fields with me cutting greens (weeds) for the centerpieces.

Amy also made several trips back and forth to her home for dishes, extra pyrex, crock pots, and babysat all four of my children (and our dog) for the entire evening!

Thank you girls...shall we plan a holiday extravaganza?

It was a fun night.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013 send my babies off to school

...K, 4 & 5.

I am not going to sugar coat the morning.  There were a lot of tears.  Big crocodile, nearly-have-trouble-breathing tears.

Ummm... they were my tears.

I have no idea what put me over the edge...maybe it was watching Isabella get ready so independently this morning, maybe it was the thought of her changing buses at the middle school, maybe it was just because I want so many great things for lil' ones...

I tried my best NOT to embarrass Isabella...she hates it when I cry in public.  

When we got to school this morning I channeled my emotions into caputuring the Kodak moments.

William & Mrs. Rios

Abbey & Miss Abrams
It took all of my self-control to not go visit Isabella in her class for a photo with her teacher...
(Fifth grade is considered middle school and she starts an hour earlier than the other kids.)

I am super lucky to have an especially adoring pair of eyes on Abbey this Kindergarten year.  Amy is an aid in her class and snapped a few photos of Abbey and her bestie Luke.

I love that they get to be together another year!

The day was a success.  

There were no meltdowns this afternoon and it the dinnertime-bathtime-bedtime routine was pretty smooth.

Tomorrow is another day.

Perhaps this little gal and I need to celebrate?

I see Starbucks and Pedicures in our future....

Maybe at 11:00 tomorrow morning?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013 enjoy the last day of summer we get ready for the new school year.

Today was the official end of the summer of 2013 for the Crow family crew.
They have traveled.
They swam.
They have had ice cream and smores and soda.
They visited parks, went on bike rides, and jumped for hours on the trampoline.
They got sunburned, bit by mosquitos, and stung by bees.
They have had all the fun that there is to be had in one summer.

I can tell it is time for routine because...

Sharing has shifted to bossing.
Good natured wrestling has morphed into fighting.
Teamwork has mutated into tattle-taleing.

I have loved the summer we had.
I am going to miss them while they are away during the day.

I love them with all my being.

I can only hope their teachers see the gifts they possess as well.

Monday, September 2, 2013 share some photos

...from our Labor Day weekend trip(s)

We started off the weekend with a trip to West Point where we spent some time at Trophy Point.

The kids climbed the cannons...

Ate snacks with their friends...

and even wrestled with their very favorite 'old' babysitter on the lawn.

In the evening we enjoyed watching the Black Knights beat Morgan State....

 Loved seeing the Mule...

And they even got to see some Star Wars characters...

Most favorite though was watching the cadets jump into the stadium.

Just in case you were wondering...

1) Isabella opted out of the football game because she spent the night with her best friend from West Point.

2) William wasn't in the Mule or the Star Wars pictures because he was pouting.  Yup.  It is true.  

At most any point during out weekend at least one of us was pouting...(I happen to be pretty good at it myself.  Perhaps that is where the kids get it?)

Anyway, I digress.

The second part of our trip was a whirlwind two nights up in Boston to see Aunt Lisa, Uncle Jason, and Cousin G.

Such a fun time although I didn't capture too many Kodak moments.

These were a few keepers...

Isn't our nephew adorable!

Playing some chicken in the pool...

And I am sorry to say (to Ellen & Fred) this is the only picture that I took of the five of them together...

and its not even a good one.  

Fail.  On.  Photo.  Taking.

For the weekend.