Saturday, November 21, 2009

Reason #1 to Have Kids

Joshua made this for me the other day. Last year at Valentine's the thing he kept asking for was this. A Scrabble valentine. How can a mother turn down a potentially educational toy? It has been that and more! Even Jeremiah likes shuffling the letters around. That day he used it to make my heart melt, though.
"Il never stop loveing you" either, Joshua.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Finally the Zoo!!

I've tried several times to get to the zoo here. Something always gets in the way. Time, money, weather...
This week we finally made it! The weather was perfect. We could not have possibly picked a better day to go. Our friend and my co-ombudsman, Adri, came with us. It was so nice to have the company!
The boys absolutely adore Adri. Can you tell?
This is Billy the giraffe. I'm pretty sure he's sticking his tongue out because the boys would not stop hollering at him "HELLO BILLY!!!"

Jeremiah was looking forward to the seeing the elephants. I was tickled by this one. Fortunately, there were others to see and he did come out eventually.

Josh could have picked a better place to sit, I think. Some things you just need to learn the hard way, I suppose.
Yes. They are wild and crazy and unpredictable at times. For example, Jeremiah... who for some reason didn't really want to come out of the cage.
The boys are getting so much bigger. With a bit of a struggle, both of them managed to get up on this thing. I'm constantly amazed at the things they've figured out how to do.
These little monkey's were so much fun. And by that, I mean the boys. They were great at the zoo. I'm so glad we got to get out in the sunshine again. All that rain made all 3 of us a little crazy.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Andalo's Clubhouse

Honestly, this weekend... it's been horrible. Most of it I probably brought on myself because of my inability to shake a bad attitude.
There were lots of other contributors, though. First, our routine was completely thrown off by that nor'easter we got around here last week. They canceled 2 days of school added to the holiday already scheduled on Wednesday so 3 days last week Josh was home all day. On top of that, I had plans! We had several fun things to do on his days off and after school that all ended up squashed by the storm. Not exactly fun to go see farm animals in rain and 40-60 mph winds! Then even on Saturday it was still drizzling which ended my zoo-going plans pretty quickly.
Then there's the fact that Phil wasn't coming home this weekend. The past few weeks have been a somewhat regular (although irritating) routine of him coming home very late every Friday night and leaving partway through Sunday again. This week he didn't come home. We knew it was coming but combined with everything else the separation was even more difficult. Then there's the fact that at least one wife I know of drove down to where the guys are to visit over the weekend. We just couldn't put up the cost for that sort of trip, so it was out of the question.
So throw all those things into one pot with cabin fever and an irritable mommy and what you get is a super not fun weekend.
Today the weather was beautiful! The roads were mostly clear (aside from some tree debris and a couple flooded underpasses). We went to church and the Children's Museum. Actually, the Children's Museum in Portsmouth that we've visited before has closed for renovations. In the mean time they've opened a smaller clubhouse for the kids to go to. It was great to let the boys just play and blow off some steam while I got a chance to relax and not have to work so hard to entertain them.

Josh was really excited that they had some of the grocery store set up there. It's by far his favorite part of every children's museum we go to. I find this ironic since he's no huge fan of our regular grocery store runs. Even so, he filled his basket to overflowing!
This just cracked me up watching little Jeremiah try and lift this full basket up onto the counter. These must have been some older brothers hanging out but they had so much fun role-playing with the boys. Jeremiah's groceries cost 99 cents, if I remember right.
Then they have this area with foam bricks. It's great! We built up a fort and I dropped the boys in...
I couldn't even get a picture before they knocked it down! It was definitely good fun, though!
Tomorrow we're back to our regular routine again. I have more plans again, so hopefully the weather and everyone's moods hold up!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Change of Plans

So a couple days ago I hinted that I had plans for other adventures while Phil was gone this time. Well, the weather has had other plans for us.
A Noreaster has blown ashore here and is creating it's havoc. Today Josh is home from school even, due to weather conditions. So here is where the Mommy job gets harder... How to make adventures when we probably shouldn't wander past the door?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Colonial Williamsburg, Part 1

This weekend during the brief time we had with Phil, we took advantage of the free weekend for military at Colonial Williamsburg. The boys and I have made an entire project out of it and have been reading, listening to music and using recipes from colonial times before we ever went. I'm pretty sure they only half understand it all, but it was fun anyway. It's a beautiful time of year to visit there.
This was the fife and drums band. The boys really liked this part. What boy wouldn't like a whole bunch of boys walking together and banging a drum?
Their garden there still had things growing and for some reason the boys took particular interest in this. This is Josh walking with his composition book holding Daddy's hand. He brought some questions with him to ask there.

On our way back to the car we found a particularly friendly horse. The boys got a big kick out of him and the woman who was asking Joshua if he swam there (since in that time there would have been no car or bridges to get him there from Virginia Beach).

Daddy is back off to work again. We'll see him soon enough. In the mean time, we have a couple more adventures to do to help pass the time.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Last night I found out that yet another of the foundations of my childhood has passed away. More and more of this will come as I get older, but that doesn't seem to dampen the blow.
Joy was... well, just that. Joy but with a capital "J." There was always this joy and peace that seemed to radiate from within her. When we were in California in September I was able to see her one last time. Her dialysis had certainly been taking it's toll. You could tell that just living had gotten much harder for her in these late days. Even in spite of all of that, though, she was still Joy through and through. She got to see both of the boys and I got to hug her again. I have only gotten to see her a couple times since I got married and moved away from my hometown, but I will still miss her greatly. I want to be more like her in my own life and circumstances, peaceful, joyous, loving and supporting. She was always there with a hug and an encouraging word for me and my life would have been so much less without her in it. For now I will mourn her but there's the consolation that I will see her again. Joy is not one I would ever have a worry of not seeing in heaven someday. Her pain is gone now, the struggle over and she will be with her husband and daughter again.
There are so many memories and loving thoughts of Joy in my head and heart, I could not do them any sort of justice here. So I'll close with this. When I spent some years working as a youth pastor when I was much younger, I was given an office that I decided to decorate in beach decor. Joy and Ray took the time to go dig up this hymn, make a copy and frame it just for me. I still have it even today because it was that special to me.

Finally Home
by Don Wyrtzen

When engulfed by the terror of tempestuous sea,
Unknown waves before you roll;
At the end of doubt and peril is eternity,
Though fear and conflict seize your soul.

But just think of stepping on shore and finding it heaven!
Of touching a hand and finding it God's!
Of breathing new air and finding it celestial!
Of waking up in glory and finding it home!

Welcome home, Joy!