Thursday, March 29, 2012


I just found out that some dear friends of ours from Korea are going through a really tough time.  Really tough.  Life changing tough.

They have to give back the little boy they adopted.  Today is the day they have to hand him over.

 They adopted him through an agency in the States, and flew back to get him when he was born.  They've had him for 15 months, and they are the only family he's ever known.  But, as sometimes happens, the birth family decided they wanted him back, and unfortunately they won the custody battle.  I'm simply heartbroken for them.  This is a child that we held, played with, and loved on while we were there.  He was wanted so badly, and was such a light in everyone's lives.

The thing that (selfishly I suppose) has me in tears is that he was close to Maverick's age, and his older sister is Maddox's age.  And she's now losing her baby brother.  Imagining going through that is just gut wrenching enough, but having to explain it to a child!?  UGH!

 I suppose it was all in God's plan to only have him in their family for such a short time, but (here's where I'm going to have my temper tantrum that will require confession later on) WHAT THE HECK GOD?  SERIOUSLY?  WHO DOES THAT??  THAT'S F-ED UP!  HEY, HERE'S A BABY, SURE HE'S YOURS TO KEEP, NO JUST KIDDING, GIVE HIM BACK, SORRY ABOUT THAT!!  that doesn't make it any easier. 

So, if you can't tell, I'm not only sad, I'm angry.  

We don't know God's plan for our lives, and tomorrow is never guaranteed.  I'm hugging my husband and babies tighter today, that's for sure.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Planting some seeds, and St. Patrick's Day

We are ready for Spring around here, and can't wait to have a garden again!  Since we didn't have a yard in Korea we didn't grow anything at all last summer, and it was very strange!  This year we have a fabulous garden and hope we'll be successful in getting a few things to grow!

I got this kit at a store called Toom, which is like a Lowe's Home Improvement store.

 I also picked up a few packets of seeds- way more seeds than we'll need!  They are Tomato, Marigolds, Salad greens, Spinach, Tomato, Peppers, Rosemary, and Sugar Snap Peas.  I've grown most of these things successfully before, but that was in a different climate!

 Mdx is waiting for them to grow.  It will be a while.
For now they'll hang out on our windowsill, since most of the planting guides here say not to plant outside until April 1st!
 Here's how they looked a little more than a week after we planted them!  We've also planted some garlic, and a few bulbs-so we'll see what we get!  Onions are going in soon!

We interrupt this broadcast with a message from Maverick.  He would like you to know that he DID wear green for St. Paddy's Day, but decided to take his pants off.  It's his preferred way of dressing.
 Trying to keep up with at least one of my New Year's Resolutions...I got some St. Patrick's Day books.
I also got an Irish Angel.  Sorry it's so dark, my camera stinks.
 A table was a little too short for our table, so I put it under the TV.
 And, a new Scentsy warmer! 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Tea Party!

A few weekends ago Mdx was invited to tea party, at the house of a little girl in her ballet class.  She picked out her outfit well in advance, and was very excited!  She worried a little bit about drinking tea (which she doesn't like), but the tea was actually fruit juice.

Here are the girlies all lined up!

Right before they sat down, one of them initiated a "GOOOooooooo TEA!" cheer.  :)
 Pass the sugar please!
 We brought monkey bread.  I need a bundt pan!
 We also brought sugar cookies.

It was so much fun!  We can't wait to have some of these new friends over for a playdate!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Last day in Pittsburgh, and heading home

Before we knew it, it was Sunday, our last day in Pittsburgh.  Since we didn't have to leave until later in the day, we squeezed in some last minute shopping and hung out at Opa's house. 

Mav took a little cat nap on Opa's couch. 
 Mdx and Charleigh loved playing together upstairs.
 This is one of Opa's birthday gifts!  A Mustang slot machine!  Maverick was actually caught pushing the buttons (when it was off) and stuff his pockets with tokens.

We said our goodbyes and headed back toward Baltimore.  We decided to stop at the same hotel in Hagerstown where we had stayed before.  As we were driving in to Maryland we noticed that they had salted the roads.  I told Marshall we should probably check the forecast, because we hadn't paid any attention to the weather.  We discovered they were calling for a winter storm that night!  We crossed out fingers and hoped we didn't get stuck!  It ended up not snowing at all where we were, so in the morning we headed to BWI, turned in the rental car, and checked in for our Space-A flight back to Ramstein.  There were plenty of seats available, and we had no problem getting on the flight.

 With a few hours to kill, we headed to the Children's play area of BWI.  It is very nice!
 They even have a section of rocking chairs for the parents to relax, and an observation area where you can see a lot of things going on down below.
 A play tram.
 Mav's favorite, the play airplane.
 Mdx was pretty happy to be taking another plane ride!
 Mav is telling me how excited he is that the plane we are on is so new, and has a TV screen and remote control!  This plane was the nicest plane I've ever flown on, it really seemed brand new!
Once we landed back home we all started sleeping off the jet lag, and Marshall went straight back to work.  It was a short, sweet, vacation- and totally worth living on the edge!

Party time!

On Saturday there was a big party for Opa at the local firehouse.  Carla and her brother and sisters (and all their significant others!) really worked hard to make this party great!

This is the cake table.  There were tables set up all over the room that had pictures from every era of his life!

This one is my favorite! So beautiful!

CAKE!  If you haven't heard, I'm a cake fan.  That's a picture of Opa and his Mustang.
Part of the surprise was an awesome scrapbook filled with letters from people he has known over the years.  It was really cool to see their memories of him, and many of them also sent pictures!  There were even some pictures from his high school days.  What an amazing thing to keep in touch with people for so long, and to have them send such meaningful messages.
 Here is Opa with his three Great-Grandchildren.  Mdx, Mav, and Charleigh.  Such a sweet picture!  I hope some of the 5 other people taking pictures got some better shots.  :)
 The little kids enjoyed running around the big room, and eating lollipops.
Mdx enjoyed playing with the balloons!

We also got to talk to many of Opa's friends, including some friends from the Mustang club.  I told them about how my Grandmother Bootsie used to have a white convertible Mustang, which I thought was a pretty cool Grandma car!  There was a busload of people who came from the Senior Center, and many other people.  I wish I had gotten a picture of the crowd!  We are so glad that we got to be there for the fun!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Pittsburgh Days 2 and 3

 The next morning (Thursday) we woke up entirely too early and played around in the room.  Marshall took Maverick down to the lobby to walk around and play, and we took our time showering and getting up and ready to go. 

Back at Opa's house, Mdx got in some "craftsing" as she calls it.

I don't have anymore pictures from Thursday.  I could have sworn I took some, but maybe they are on someone else's camera?  Oops!  Ha!  We did some shopping, and hung out with Aunt Cheri and Uncle Alan who flew up from Georgia.  We also enjoyed our time with Opa's sister Sue, who flew up from Florida.  Later on we got to surprise Grandma and Grandpa (Marshall's parents) when they arrived after driving from North Carolina.  We hid around the corner from the door, but Maverick wouldn't stay with us and wandered around the room.  I didn't have a good view, but I could hear what was going on.  When Carla saw Maverick (I think) she said "Hi there...." and then started screaming when she realized it was him!  She kept saying"oh my gosh!"- it was so funny!  She was definitely surprised, and don't forget, her husband (the secret keeper) was the only one who knew we were coming, so even though he wasn't surprised, he was definitely happy to see us!

The next day Mdx wore her Steeler's jersey.  The kids had chocolate donuts for breakfast!
Mav spent a long time going up, down, up, down, up, down those stairs.  He only fell once.
Later we got to surprise Marshall's Grandma Mac.  Her face says it all!
Mav was so sweet and sat in her lap a long time.
Friday night we went out for Chinese food for dinner.
It was okay, but the kids were really tired and ready for bed, so we ended up hurrying out and heading back to go to sleep.  Mdx cried because they had cake for Opa and she wanted some, but I promised her she could have cake for breakfast the next day.  Hey- it's vacation!

Friday, March 2, 2012

jet laaaaaaaaaaag

We landed in Baltimore around 9:30pm East Coast time, which felt like 3:30am Germany time.  The kids were great during the flight and slept for a few hours each.  The plane was an older model with narrower seats, and tv sets in the ceiling that they showed action/violent movies on the whole time.  But the 4 tickets to Baltimore cost us less than $120 so I'm REALLY not complaining!  We deplaned and went through immigration easily.  Then we waited for our bags.  We were returning to the States with around 150 soldiers who were returning from deployment, and I've never seen so many green duffel bags in my life!  :)

Another awesome thing is that BWI has a "Welcome Home" crew from the USO, and they stand outside the double doors next to baggage claim, and clap, cheer, shake hands, and give hugs to all the returning troops.  There were probably 30 people there, wearing red, white, and blue- they were taking pictures and ringing bells!  It was amazing!  These people were out past 10pm on Valentine's Day just to shake a soldier's hand- I admit that I got a little verklempt!

We headed to the rental car place to pick up our rental, which I had hastily reserved online the previous day.  There was some confusion because there was no sign telling us where to go, and when we picked up the airport phone to call Budget it just rang and rang and rang.  So we headed to the USO and asked to borrow their phone to call.  We finally found out that there is a shuttle bus that runs every 5-10 minutes and takes everyone for all the companies to the car rental hub, which is a little bit away from the airport.

We arrived at the car rental place around 10:45, and their computers had just crashed.  They were rebooting everything and setting things back up, so we had to hang out a little bit.  We finally got into our rental and on the road around 11:30pm.  I let the kids and Marshall snooze and decided to drive until I got tired- aiming for Frederick or Hagerstown, MD.  About 1.5 hrs later I stopped in Hagerstown, at a GREAT Comfort Suites hotel.  It was cheap, clean, the room was huge, the person at the desk was smart and friendly, and the free breakfast was good too.  Can't beat that!

After we slept about 4 more hours the kids woke up (boy I wished I could have kept sleeping!), and we packed everything back up, ate breakfast and hit the road around 7:00am.  Marshall and I took turns driving, but we were only about 3 hours from Pittsburgh.  We stopped once at a turnpike rest stop to change a diaper and stretch our legs.

As we got closer and closer to Pittsburgh I started getting nervous!  Thankfully we had brought our GPS (although you can rent them for a ridiculous fee too).  The only part of Pittsburgh I had ever been to was the airport- I didn't realize how hilly it is- there are so many curvy, winding roads!  Marshall started pointing out things he'd recognize "I think that's where Aunt Lisa lives", etc.  But it had been at least 10 years since he was in Pittsburgh.

Once we arrived at Opa's house it was a little anti-climactic, because HE WASN'T HOME!!  We sat there for a minute trying to figure out what to do, and we decided to head to Denny's and see if Aunt Lisa was there.  She has worked there for quite a long time, and is a really popular waitress!  It was only a few miles away, and the GPS took us straight there.  We went in and saw her, and asked to sit in her section.  We were just sitting down when she walked up, and Marshall said "Can we get some service over here?!".   HAHAhaha!  She looked at him and said "What?  What?  What are you doing here?!"  It was so funny!  We surprised her so much she cried a little bit!  Then she went around the restaurant and told all her friends (and most of the customers) that her nephew from Germany had come and surprised her.  It. Was. Awesome.

Lisa told us that Opa was at the grocery store and would be home soon, so after eating a quick meal we headed to Opa's house, and THEN we got to surprise him too!  He came to the door and saw Marshall, and said "WHAT?" and then he was basically SPEECHLESS (which I didn't know was possible).  HA! We told him we were there to celebrate his birthday with him, which he thought was just great!

Mdx and Opa
Mav, Opa, and Mdx

After hanging out with Opa for a while we headed over to the hotel to get a nap.  We all slept for a few hours, and then woke up around 5ish.  We had to wake up the kids, which was hard, but we told Mdx that Aunt Lisa and Aunt Phyllis wanted to take her to Build A Bear to make a bear!  We met them at the mall.  I had never been there before, and BOY is it a production!

Mdx chose a Koala as her animal.  Here "Koalie" is getting her heart.
And a bath.  Because newborn stuffed animals need a bath, right?
This Air Force uniform cracks me up.  A Chief Master Sergeant with one ribbon!
Mav was really tired, and not impressed.
You get to make your Bear's birth certificate on the computer, which is pretty fun.
After Build a Bear we went out to eat with Lisa and Phyllis to The Lounge, where they are friends with some of the staff.  We were treated very well and had some great food!

Mdx, Koalie, and Koalie's baby Rosie.
After dinner we headed back to the hotel and ALL passed out!