Monday, March 30, 2009

My Husband the Riverine

Phil is back! For good... well, kinda.
As most of you know, this command that Phil is stationed at is going to be a lot different from what we've been with in the past. So Phil is home... for now. When he will leave again we're not sure. In the mean time, we are so happy to have him home! Phil has graduated from his latest class that officially makes him a Riverine.
To commemorate that I thought I'd share something I just read for the first time with Phil's latest certificate, The Riverine Sailor Creed:

In our nation's time of need, there are Sailors that stand ready... honor bound... to defend freedom. They serve on shallow waters and rivers, around the world, with honor and distinction. I am proud to be one of these Sailors... a Riverine Sailor.

I am a quiet professional; tried, tested and dedicated to achieving excellence in Riverine warfare operations. I am a disciplined, confident and highly motivated warrior.

My honor and integrity are above reproach; my commitment to duty unquestioned and my word trusted. The American people depend on me to execute my mission in a precise and professional, military manner.

I maintain my craft, equipment and myself at the highest possible levels of combat readiness. I set the standard and lead by personal example. I am responsible for my actions and accountable to my shipmates, superiors and the American people.

I am ready for war, but hope for peace. In the event of conflict, I will close and engage the enemy with the full combat power at my disposal. My actions will be decisive, yet measured. I will always complete my mission and do my duty leaving no shipmate behind, dead or alive.

My heritage was born during the revolution that made ours a free nation. The legacy and courage of those warriors who went in harms way before me guides my actions. I shall never forget the selflessness, perseverance and sacrifices made to secure our nations freedom. I will always uphold and maintain the honor of those who fought before me and staunchly protect our proud history.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Daring Bakers Challenge: March

This month I decided to join the Daring Bakers in making something new and challenging each month. I was hoping it would take me out of my box a little, and BOY did it do just that!! Here's the challenge for this month:

Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna

The March 2009 challenge is hosted by Mary of Beans and Caviar, Melinda of Melbourne Larder and Enza of Io Da Grande. They have chosen Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna from The Splendid Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper as the challenge.

Not only was this making lasagna from scratch, this was making the ragu sauce from scratch, a bechamel sauce from scratch AND the pasta from scratch! I worked on this for the good part of 7 hours! Fortunately the boys were pretty understanding and only one of them refused to eat it when it was finally done at 8 o'clock at night.
The ragu sauce was definitely my favorite part. It really reminded me of the sauces that were so easy to find in Italy. Much different from the American interpretation of "Italian food". This one started with carrot, celery, onion, pancetta and olive oil. Later you added Italian sausage, beef and proscuitto, wine, broth and then at the very end a couple tomatoes. VERY different from "ragu" from a jar... but oh so yummy!! I'll admit. I ate a few bites before it made it into the lasanga. The bechamel sauce turned out very well. I had never realized that the difference between real Italian lasagna and American lasagna was this sauce. No mozzerella, no ricotta... but bechamel and some parmesean. It took me back home to Italy. Above is the picture I've always wanted. The start of homemade pasta.
I think a couple of the hours I spent on this were on the pasta part alone. It's a spinach pasta. My arms hurt so bad when I was done. Can you imagine trying to turn this heap of crumbly dough into a sheet thin enough to see through?? After a long time and much frustration, the assembled product looked like this in my oven.

Honestly, I will probably never make all this again. I'd skip making the pasta myself and stick with the boxed stuff. The bechamel and ragu might be a special ocassion thing. I wish I could give you all a taste of this ragu. It took forever but I would do it again just for the flavor!
Phil is home now but wasn't when I made this, so he'll have to try the frozen morsel I saved for him some other time. Joshua and I liked this quite a bit. Jeremiah was a little more skeptical. All in all, my lesson learned is that it feels good to try making something new... especially when it's something you were pretty sure you'd never be able to pull off!

Thursday, March 26, 2009


This is yet another theme is seems God is planting into my life right now. From actual experiences to my reading to church, this idea has recurred for a couple weeks now. No, I'm not talking about the whole "wives submit yourselves to your husbands" discussion. No way am I opening that can of worms! I'm talking about submitting yourself to life circumstances. I can honestly say that no other idea has given me more peace in real life moments. I have wasted so much time and energy fighting against things that no amount of fighting would ever change. I'm not talking about things that should be changed or could be changed by you. I'm talking about husbands leaving for deployment or being alone with the boys all day everyday or cold rainy weather that makes it impossible to go outside to play.It all started with me noticing a theme in Abigail Adam's letters to John (yes, I'm still working on this book. It's long, ok??). Often when she is concluding a time of gentle complaining or wishing for life to be different for them she would end with a simple, "but I submit." She would always end there. She knew there was nothing she could do to control these things or that the trouble they were going through at the time was worth the result of insured freedom for our country and her children so she would submit to the circumstances or submit to God in them.
Then when we went to church on Saturday night, the theme was Psalm 131. It is a short Psalm that uses the imagery of a baby at peace in his mother's arms.
But I have stilled and quieted my soul;
like a weaned child with its mother,
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
Psalm 131:2
He brought to light the point that with this image of maternal love comes the idea that the things that are in our life may not always be what we want, but are always what we need. Now that is something I can submit to.
I know this is still an idea that is being processed in my life but I thought in the mean time I would share in hopes that God might be able to use it in your life as well.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Josh and Soccer

This year has been so great for Josh. He's gotten even more coordinated and I'm so impressed with his endurance! This Saturday it was so cold I held Jeremiah through a majority of his little game. Josh said he wasn't that cold (probably from running around so much) but at least 3 of the other kids from his team gave up and wouldn't play anymore. Josh didn't give up, though! He just kept playing and even made another goal!
He's really starting to be able to keep up with the other kids and try hard to make a goal. He loves being around the other kids and getting to run around. I think he might be the fastest dribbler on our team, which is a pretty big deal since he was one of the slowest on our team last year.
Jeremiah is more then a little jealous and wants a team of his own, but that will have to wait a little bit, although I'm certain he'll do great when it's his time!
Phil wasn't able to come home this weekend so later in the day I was on the phone with him within earshot of Joshua. When I was telling him about his goal and him not giving up, I looked over and saw Josh smiling at me. He is so happy and proud of himself about it. Now I just need to teach him a little dance for when he scores a goal and we'll be set!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I hate the idea of this. Holding yourself out to the world just trusting that somehow it will all work out and be alright in the end? Not good enough. I know all too well that we live in a broken world and that even the ones of us who say we're "Christians" don't always do what is right. The problem with my disdain for this idea is that lately I am walking around in a constant state of it whether I admit it or not. I realized this in part as soon as Phil left to start this whole round of schooling he's been doing.
When we moved into this house we decided to install an alarm system. It seemed that most other houses we had looked at had them, so we figured this one should as well with a side note that it might help give me some peace of mind when Phil was gone. It has done that, but only in part. The first few weeks Phil was gone I would lay in our bed staring out our bedroom door with my ears perked up listening for any indication that someone might be in our house and coming through that very door at any second. It's a ridiculous notion, but somehow felt justified since now I was alone and now the designated protector for the three of us in our dark and empty feeling house. I had finally been able to relax more at night and feel a little more secure in my independent skin when I was reminded last week all over again that I'm not okay just by myself and I can't get us through everything without some sort of help.
Our truck decided to stop working. Mind you, it's mysteriously back to working now and hasn't even hesitated since this one day, but that doesn't matter. My vulnerability had already been exposed and now I have to learn to live with it. I had taken the boys to the mall last Thursday and had a less then fun time so was glad to be headed to the truck so we could go home for lunch. Our non-starting truck obviously had other plans. I could try and relay all the curious symptoms of our trucks problem, but all that mattered really was that our truck wouldn't start, jumping the battery was not going to help and I had no idea where to go from there. Who did I have to help me? Only a few people who all live 4 hours or more away. Not a huge amount of help in this particular circumstance. What does a girl do when her husband is unreachable and she has a car problem?? I called my Dad. As much as he wanted to be helpful and come to my rescue, there really wasn't much he could do to fix my truck over the phone. I opened the hood, pretended to know what I was looking at, noticed nothing looked awry to my still less then knowledgeable eye, closed the hood and hung up the phone. What was left to do? I cried.
Then I called the only other people I could think of. The insurance company. I mean, we're paying them for something, right?? The girl gave me a few answers about what I could do to get the boys and I moving. She put me on hold to get clarification (I'm still crying this whole time, feeling stupid for still crying and so making myself cry more) and wouldn't you know, I tried one last time and the truck started! I'm pretty sure I sat there for a minute with my mouth completely open. It gave us more trouble that day and we paid for all sorts of tests to figure out what was wrong, but apparently all the truck needed was a trip to the shop! It was fine the whole time we were there and has been fine since.
The monumental part of all this was not my fickle truck, but what this experience has done to my heart. I have found out the hard way who I can and can't call in time of crisis (I omitted the fact of having called a local friend for help that day that I still haven't heard back from). I realized that a lot of times when I'm calling my Dad for help it isn't always because I expect him to be able to actually fix the problem. Most of all, I recognized that I can't live like nothing unexpected and difficult will ever happen and that I'm not always going to have the answers. And that's okay.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Almost Done

This is our last weekend together before Phil graduates from this particular school. There will be another later, but we will get a break at least for now. Phil will be gone a lot for the next couple of weeks and we would really appreciate you praying for him as he completes his last tests for this school.
In the mean time, I'm still absorbing myself in the letters between Abigail and John Adams and finding companions on this journey of togetherness and separation.
"Every day of ye time I have mournd the absence of my friend, and felt a vacancy in heart which nothing, nothing can supply. In vain the spring blooms or the birds sing, their musick has not its formour melody, nor the spring its usual pleasures. I look around with a melancholy delight and sigh for my absent partner." Abigail to John, May of 1777
I can't wait to be back together again for more then just a weekend. So much gets missed during the weeks. I know we'll be spending a lot more time apart while we are stationed here, but for now, my focus is two weeks away and getting through until then.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Virginia Air and Space Center

We learned all sorts of things from our Dad today...
Like the right vehicle to be in if you're going to come crashing down to earth from outer space...
Like how to cross between two skyscrapers on a steel beam that is many many stories above the ground....
And how to lay on a bed of nails comfortably....
and how to guide a jet to land on an aircraft carrier...
and how to walk on the moon (even if you feel really grumpy)...
and how to fly a commercial airplane...
and what astronaut ice cream tastes like.
Isn't our Dad great??

Josh's First Soccer Game

Yep that's our little all-star on the left. He scored his first goal this weekend! Soccer here is much different and more casual. Josh seemed to feel really comfortable with it all and I can't wait to see what happens in him over the next couple months!

Friday, March 6, 2009

On Josh and Soccer

Josh has started soccer for the spring, even though both of his practices so far have felt much less then spring-like. Watching him this year is so different then last! Last year he was still a little chubby looking and was way more interested in playing with the other kids then he was with kicking the ball. This year he's much more independent and you can tell he kinda knows what he's doing already. This Saturday will be his first game and the forecast calls for 70! Hopefully we'll get better pictures up after his game. I get a little snap-happy when Josh plays soccer. I'm just so stinkin proud of him!

Thursday, March 5, 2009


On KLOVE earlier as the boys and I were driving home, there was a snippet on air about military wives and how their isolation puts them at risk. I had never paired isolation with why I feel so lonely lately. I am constantly around 2 other people, but at 5 and 2, they aren't the best conversationalists yet. I get to talk to Phil every day and see him most weekends, which is a huge blessing that I don't take for granted, but there is something missing in going about your day by day lives together when you're not... well... together. I did a search for articles along these lines and came across a sampling of a book online that is a history of military wives (ending in about 1972, so I'm guessing this was written before I was even born). I haven't read too far into the sample even, but this one little part made me just about cry. Someone understands me!!!
It does take a special kind of woman to be a military wife. She must be a patriot, and a helpmate, lover, comforter and confidante to her husband. As one reads the early diaries or hears the stories of women who have experienced the roller-coaster ups and downs of military life, it becomes clear that the military wife must be courageous and resilient, and have a sense of humor... It is neither an easy life nor one to which all wives can adapt, but those who do are part of a heritage rich in sacrifice, adventure, and fulfillment.

from "Campfollowing," By Betty Sowers Alt, Bonnie Domrose Stone

Okay, so I wanted to quote several paragraphs, but fear the copyright problems that could ensue. I'm not even sure I'll be able to buy this book anymore, but for now it's good to be reminded that I am just one of a long legacy of women who have stood up under these same burdens and succeeded in the end.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

50's Food

I have a fetish for old style food joints. I have been bummed to not find any sort of classic drive in around here until a couple nights ago when I heard about Doumar's (thanks to Guy Fieti). It was not even a 20 minute drive and oh so tasty! We sat in the truck and ate burgers, hot dogs and even a banana split! I'm such a sap for these places and I have no idea why. There's something nostalgic and historic about the whole thing that makes me feel tied to the generations before me that have eaten at this same place. Well, whatever it is, here are some fun shots from our little outing.
The sign for the place is in the left part of the picture. I just found it hillarious that the Calz Wing delivery truck was at someone else's drive in!
They actually had the things that stuck out the window.

Jeremiah's hot dog was sliced open on a hamburger bun. It took him a minute to get used to the idea, but then ate just about the whole thing!
Josh wanted a picture taken of his "meat cheeseburger" as well.
Mmmmm.... banana split!
So if anyone knows of any other old diners around our area, let me know!

Monday, March 2, 2009

For the Love of Nerf

We have become huge fans of all things Nerf these days. You can shoot people and they don't hurt! Here's a little compilation from the night of Josh's party after everyone had gone home. Josh isn't really in many pictures because... well, he was literally running circles inside the house! Too much pineapple cake if you ask me!