Monday, June 29, 2009

Oklahoma Trip

Last weekend I flew down to Oklahoma with my parents for my cousin John's wedding party.  He and his new wife Jennah were married in Hawaii where they live, and traveled back to OK where John grew up to celebrate with his side of the family.  Jennah is very sweet and we are thrilled that she is now a member of the family!  It was really nice to finally travel out and see where my Dad's sister Marilyn and brother Michael live.  Uncle Richard and family also came down from Michigan- so that meant 4 of the 7 kids were there!  We roasted while we were there, the temps were consistently over 100 degrees every day.  The downtown area of Oklahoma City was nice, with a lot to see within walking distance.  There is even a little canal and restaurant area that has water taxis.  It reminded me of San Antonio's Riverwalk, but not as big. 

You won't see any pictures of Maddox during this trip because she wasn't there!!  She stayed at my sister's house and spent some great quality time with her cousins.  After 2 months of single parenting I just decided I needed a break for a few days!!  I knew that everyone (but mostly me) would enjoy the trip more without an almost-2-year-old along, and Emily was excited at the chance to have the 3 kids together.  It really was an amazing and very strange feeling to sit in a nice restaurant and have dinner without having to entertain and feed another person.  I also slept full, long nights waking up to a much different sound than I am used to....an alarm clock!

The whole trip was great until the last morning.  I realized that I couldn't find my camera!   We searched the hotel room, it wasn't there.  We looked in the lobby where we sat with Dad while he watched the race, it wasn't there.  We asked at the desk, it hadn't been turned in.  We looked in the rental car, it wasn't there.  We called Uncle Mike and asked if they had seen it there (that was the last place I remembered having it)....it wasn't there.  We even went back to Mike's house before driving to the airport to look for ourselves, but at that point I knew my camera was gone.  We figured out that since I remembered grabbing it when we left Mike's but not having it at the hotel- I must have left it in the rental car overnight...and it must have been taken.  We didn't remember if the car was locked or not- but either way- you never leave things in rental cars parked in a parking deck.    I was SO SO SO SAD!!  All I could think of were the pictures I took and the videos I lost.  I had a great video of my Grandfather singing a Polka at the wedding party- I'm not likely to have many more chances to see that.  Most of all I was disappointed in myself because it was not a cheap camera and I really wanted to have it for the rest of my travels this summer.

I ended up replacing the camera with a cheaper one once I returned to NC...but the pictures you are going to see are from my Mom's camera.  I'm waiting for my cousin Ilana to send me hers- but I'm not holding my breath!  :)

Granddad, Uncle Richard, Uncle Mike, Cousin John, and Dad at a Fish Fry at Mike's.
The newlyweds at their wedding party.  It was held at the Myriad Crystal Botanical Gardens in downtown Oklahoma City.  It was a beautiful location, but still very warm even inside!
Uncle Richard, Uncle Mike, my Dad, and Aunt Marilyn at the party.
Granddad and Grandmom are so cute in this photo!  They love to take cruises, gamble, and play golf.
Cousin Ilana, Aunt Marilyn, and me!
Singing the polka...a video of this would have been hilarious- but oh well.  We have pictures and memories!  "Roll out the barrel....."

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

We are moving!

Many of you know that we found out our house is going to be torn down by the end of the year.  We didn't even hear this from the Housing Office- it came by neighbor-word-of-mouth.  So, I didn't really take it seriously until we had official word.  The Air Force is notorious for making grand plans, such as building a new neighborhood, getting everybody all worked up about it, then running behind schedule for months at a time!  I knew it was really happening when they scheduled a meeting for everyone on our street!

The meeting was last week.  I was surprised to see how many of my neighbors didn't even bother to go.  There were many good questions asked, and many good details given.  Basically what we were told is this:
-Everyone will be moved off of our street by the end of October (which means for us, before Marshall gets home from his deployment).
-We will be moved into whatever housing on the other side of the neighborhood is available.  If you qualify for a new house that is ready now(Officer housing, so we don't) you can apply for one of the new houses.  Otherwise you are moving into another old house where you will live until demolition is scheduled for them, sometime next year.  At that time there should be new houses in our pay grade available.
-60 day notices will go out in waves, beginning in late July.  Then the Air Force will move you out of your old house, and into your "new"old house.  We move on their schedule, they don't want everyone bailing at once because they need to keep occupancy high.

Here were my problems with this info, much of it I had to ask about at the meeting:  They could NOT guarantee that I would get moved before school started in the Fall.  Even though I am a teacher and my husband is deployed- too bad.  They could NOT guarantee that we would get another 3 bedroom, we could be downgraded to a 2 bedroom if that's all that available.  Many of the available houses are smaller square footage, even the 3 bedrooms.  Most of the yards on the other side are teeny tiny- probably 20 X 15.  Macy would be miserable.  We currently live in a duplex- many of those are six-plexes and seven-plexes!  Parking over there is very difficult for visitors.  That's just a few of the things that came to mind.

Having known that this was a coming possibility I had started checking out websites for houses in the area.  We don't want to buy right now, because Virginia is very expensive and we don't know how much longer we'll be here.  So, assuming I would have my job next year we could afford to rent a little over our BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing).  If not, we'd just stay in base housing.  I found a few promising places.  I also talked to a few teachers at my school and got some neighborhood recommendations.  My main criteria: Safety- I want to live in a neighborhood where I would feel safe trick-or-treating with Maddox, for example.  Leaving the gates of base housing and losing that 24 hour security is going to be the biggest challenge.  But even here in base housing there are thefts and vandalism- nowhere is 100% safe.

Once I left the meeting I drove to a neighborhood recommended to me by a fellow teacher who lives there.  It is on the other side of Langley AFB from where we currently live, in Hampton.  He said it is very safe (I've checked the police records, and sex offender registries- it's true!), established neighborhood, mostly owners, families, etc.  I drove up and down the streets looking at the place, seeing how close or far it was from base, etc.  I stopped in front of any house that had a "For Rent" sign and called the number to get the info.  To make a long story short- that is how I found THIS amazing house, that we are moving into in mid-July!!

Built in the 40's, partially renovated.  3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths.  Approx 1800 sq ft.  The windows have been replaced with high-efficiency windows.
The view from our front porch.  This is tidal water from the Chesapeake Bay.
The entrance and front room.  There are built-in bookcases in many rooms!  There is a coat closet behind the bookcase, next to the door.
The other side of the room, a wood-burning fireplace.  You can see the entrance to the kitchen. There is a sunroom to the right.  That is my friend's daughter walking into it.  To my left, but not pictured is a door to a hallway that goes to the left side of the house, and the bedrooms.
The sunroom.  We will probably use this room as a Breakfast room with a table and chairs, since there is no Dining room.  It has a nice view of the water!
There are two decks, this is the side deck.  The yard is completely fenced in.
The renovated kitchen with stainless appliances!
The matching refrigerator will be put in before we move in.  There is a dishwasher next to the sink.
From the kitchen you go into the back living space, or Den.  We may use this as a Den or a play area, I don't know. there is another wood-burning fireplace and a tile floor.  The double doors go to the back deck and backyard.
Off the den is a laundry room.  It looks like they took out the old sink and counter from the kitchen and put them in here.  Still- I won't have to do my laundry in my kitchen any more!
Down the hall is the Master Bedroom.  Each bedroom has a ceiling fan.
The Master bath.  It will be finished before we move in.  To the right there is a door to a walk-in closet.
The back deck- smaller than the side deck, but still nice!  That man is the Property Manager.
The rest of the backyard, and gate to the alley and garage.

There are 2 other bedrooms not pictured.  One will be Maddox's room, it is painted a lovely primary blue color, so it should go well with her current nursery decorations. {Carla- we might have to cut those curtains in half- there are two windows!}  There is also a guest room which is toward the front of the house.  The other full bath is not renovated and has a very old tub and some awesome burgundy and yellow tile.  The half bath is new and close to the back Den.

I know the decision was made quickly, but I really just wanted this settled.  I didn't feel the need to wait and check out other places.  I'm the type of person that once I see something I like I go with it.  There's no point in searching and searching and searching....I feel like people who do that are never satisfied with what they have.  We aren't picky people...I searched, I found this, and it's great!  Marshall's squadron has already offered to move us, so I have more than 10 people to help!  I'll let you all know if I need anything!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

yard sales and a wedding

Last weekend we went back to Greensboro for my friend's wedding.  Saturday morning was spent driving around to quite a few yard sales in search of the ever-elusive treasures that we never knew we needed until we saw them at a yard sale.  Mom and I found some great clothes for Maddox, and lots of other cool things.  We randomly decided to head down to a yard sale on Starmount since it was on the way to a children's consignment shop, and as we drove down the road I told Mom that I remembered a friend of mine from Middle School had lived on that street.  It ends up the yard sale was at her parents house, and she was there helping out!  It was such a cool thing to see her again and to catch up!  We even bought some of her old books and coloring books, which Maddox is now enjoying.  Then it was time to go home and get ready for the wedding.

The wedding was in the chapel at Greensboro College,  and it was beautiful!  I was really worried about Maddox being loud during the service, and I knew there wouldn't be that many people there.  Mom had the great idea of leaving Mdx at their house during  the wedding and then getting her and taking her back for the reception.  Since they live less than 10 blocks from the College it worked out perfectly!  I saw lots of friends from the toy store where I worked during high school and college, and we had a nice visit.

Maddox really enjoyed the cupcakes.
Can I run around please?
Toasts.
She sat on my lap and ate the finger food.
Saturday night, coloring in one of her new/old books.
This last picture is for David, so he can see that my Mom still has his drawing of the Beatles on her Frigidaire.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

real food

....is growing in my backyard.

Do you see what I see?  It's a pea!!  And it tastes delicious!  I've eaten about 30 of them so far (not all in one day).  Maddox is not interested in eating them at all, as you will see later in this post.
Although I love the movie "Fried Green Tomatoes", I think I'll wait for these to turn red before I pick them.
Hi!  My name is Broccoli!
I'm not sure how big these onions will get, but I'm thrilled they are here at all!
A few baby Zucchini are sprouting.
And....just because she is CUTE!
And funny!  Just so you know....Mdx now comes over to the computer and points at it and says "Dada Work....Dada Work".  We get to talk to Marshall on the webcam about once a week, and by phone every few days.  I think Mdx understands that Daddy is not IN the computer, but that the computer is how we talk to him.  Either way, it's pretty cute.  Now if the Iraqi internet could run a little faster....sigh.  We are really lucky to have it at all, and we certainly feel thankful for what we get!

She is saying "snack....snack".  And I think it's so funny she will take a bite when I tell her to.

video

playing catch up

I'm always playing catch up, and I'm never caught up.  I'm just going to resign myself to that fact, especially now that Marshall is gone.  Tonight as I was going over my mental list of "things-that-really-need-to-be-done-sometime-soon-but-not-necessarily-tonight", I was walking Maddox up the stairs to brush her teeth (multi-tasking, always).  It occurred to me that when he gets home, Marshall will get to help with toothbrushing, bedtime, dinner feeding, outside playing- all sorts of lovely things that I now take for granted because I do them every day!  What the heck will I do with my free time?   Ha!

So, focusing once again on my mission for tonight- to get things on this blog so Marshall (and you) can see them!

A few weeks ago we went to Greensboro to visit Great Boo and Nick-Nick.  We hadn't seen them since Christmas, so this visit was really overdue!  Maddox was great with Great Boo, she sat on her lap and cuddled a little bit.  But, unfortunately she didn't want anything to with Nick-Nick!!  She didn't even want him to LOOK at her, I've NEVER seen her act this way.  Hopefully it is temporary and next time we go back she'll be in a better mood.

Maddox and her Great-Grandmother, who she was named after.
Playing with my Aunt Betsy.
And Grammy.
After visiting with the grand and great-grandparents, we traveled to Wake Forest and Louisburg to see Mdx's cousin T.A.'s dance recital.  We also gave her birthday presents, one of them was this pretty swimsuit.  She loved dancing around and posing in it.  This kid is solid muscle.

We made some brownies and Mdx got to help.  Emily is laughing because Mdx just stuck her hand in the raw egg in the bowl.
Emily made tons of Strawberry Preserves.
The kids got some good cousin time, Anderson and Mdx are almost the same size!
Mdx got a bug bite on her face, and with her fair skin it swelled up a lot!
There was a lot of good eating and mess-making.
Did I mention mess-making?