Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The little green monster that lives outside my window.

There is a little green monster
that lives outside my window.
He's now become my current obsession
as monsters sometimes do.
I mean look at this thing......

it is completely and totally
running my life...


I'm obsessed with watching the big dial spin.
It moves either gloriously slow
or maddeningly fast.

I'm obsessed with the big dial
because it affects the five small dials.

If I can get the big dial to move slowly,
then the small dials will follow
at a snails pace,
making for much less currency leaving my pocket
to pay for current currently flowing into my home.

So obsessed am I with this
little metal tattle-tale
that I spend an embarrassing amount of time
standing at the window
counting the seconds that it takes for the
big dial to make one full rotation.
Yes, I do.
At any time of day I can be seen with my face pressed
up against the window and heard
counting..."One one thousand,
Two one thousand, Three...."
like an 8 yr old child playing hide and go seek.
But I'm not playing a child's game,
I'm playing a game of cause and effect
with a pale green, glass faced tyrant!

I'm constantly running around the house
turning off lights, televisions, fans,
the air conditioner, the computers,
even alarm clocks
then running back to the window to see
how much I have starved
my power hungry,
kilowatt gobbling,
When I can get to at least "twelve one thousand" before that
big dial turns full circle,
I raise my hands in victory
and do a little dance I call the "tight-wad wiggle"
(and you thought I was gonna say
the "electric slide" or the "neutron dance", didn't ya?!)

I am happy to say that my record is
"seventeen one thousand"
but I'm sure I can top that
if I can just figure out how to grill out every meal,
do my dishes and wash my clothes
down at the creek behind my house and
hang the clothes to dry on the line in the back yard!
Of course the hope is
that I will be rewarded with a low electric bill
and a little extra money each month.
At over 4,500 square feet,
this is the largest home we've ever powered
(except the old farm house in Rhode Island...
but we aren't counting that because it had
no AC and Rhode Island's electric company
wasn't nearly as expensive as Maryland's.)
We hear horror stories
of electric bills upwards of 7 and 8 HUNDRED a month
here in Maryland,
Can you imagine paying that much
for one month of power?
Something about deregulation,
politics, competiton...
All I care about is the amount of crabs I can't buy
because I am paying an
astronomical electric bill!

So we are understandably cautious
and being extra vigilant

(meaning we are not watching Fox News all day
and we strip down to our underwear
and put cold rags on our foreheads
before turning on the AC)

over how much juice that stupid green gargoyle,
I mean, we consume.
I'm hoping that we can loosen up a bit
once we find out how our comfort level
translates into dollars and cents.
So, now you understand why
I'm currently obsessed with current.....
and why I'm beginning to hate the
little green monster that
lives outside my window and
glares up at me defiantly
with five spinning eyes
wrenching crab after crab from my
Old Bay stained fingers!
I'm plotting his death as we speak!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Wilson the box turtle

So David and I had lunch with Bren
on her first day of school.
It was a rainy Monday morning
and everyone knows that turtles
come out to play when it rains.
I should have expected something magical.

We felt like exploring a little on our drive home,
so we went down Wilson Road.....
{the road of my childhood}
just to see if there was a backroad to get to our
house from there.

We drove all the way down to the water
and found that no thru street
had been constructed since
the days when I learned to ride my bike with no
hands down that very road,
so we headed back up the hill.

As we drove I said,
"Wouldn't it be awesome if we found
a box turtle crossing the road
so we could bring it home to Bren".
No sooner had the words left my mouth
that we saw this little guy making his way
across Wilson Road
in front of the house I grew up in!

If you don't think that God tells even box turtles
where they should be and when,
think again!

I squealed and stopped the van so
David could run out and pick him up.
He was a active little thing,
arms and legs swimming in the air all the way home!

We fed him strawberries, tomatoes
and lettuce until Bren got home from school.

Hunting for Box Turtles has been a daily ritual
for Brendell.
She's forever tromping behind her big brother
in her polka dot rain boots
{so as not to pick up poison ivy, ya know},
exploring the woods
looking for the elusive brown and yellow shells.
She was thrilled to finally see one
up close and in person!

Wilson the box turtle has brought
much joy to our home over the past
four days.
We've enjoyed letting him out in the yard
in the afternoons and watching him
He's no longer shy
and hardly ever closes himself up
in his shell when we approach him.
He's used to us now.
We kept him long enough
for Nana to come see him
and then together,
Nana and Bren let Wison go free.
He made a b-line towards our wood pile
and wedged himself in between two
large chunks of tree trunk.
As far as I know,
he's still there.

Sometimes I feel like a box turtle.
For Wilson, home goes with him
wherever he goes.
His permanent home is
wherever he is.
Sure he may shack up in the hollow of a log
for a day or two,
maybe even a week,
but soon he's on the move again,
taking his portable home along with him.

How nice to be at home
wherever you are!

I used to have a sign that said,
"Home is where the Navy sends you."
So true.
Home is fluid.
It's not a structure
or a location.
It's an attitude.
Home is deciding to live your gift of life
to the fullest right where you are.
Wherever you are.

As Navy families,
we take our home with us wherever we go
in shells shaped like cardboard boxes.
We travel across this country and abroad
adapting to each new place.
We surround ourselves
by the familiar material
and most importantly portable
comforts of home.
Our location changes,
but our attitudes do not.
Home is where you are.
Make the most of the time
you have there and LIVE!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

This is what it's all about!

This was the first Mother's Day in 18 years
that I was able to spend in person with my mom!
We also had the added blessing
of sharing it with alot of our
Maryland family at a local restaurant.

This is my Aunt Brenda....part of the inspiration
for Brendell's name.
This is their first meeting that Bren will remember.
She was just a baby that last time
they were together.
Brendell was very excited to meet this lady
that she had heard about for so long.
Both of my mom's sisters, my grandmother,
several of my cousins and
my aunt Maryanne were all in attendance.
I was so happy for my kids to experience
a little taste of what it's like to live close to family.
For many military families,
being away from family presents a myriad
of challenges that the average family
does not experience.
I believe that children are more at risk
for all kinds of things when
there is not a close circle of support
around them that they can turn to.
It is nearly impossible to develop a
circle of the kind of support I'm speaking of
when a family moves from duty station to duty station
every two or three years.
The navy does a good job with programs
designed to offer support
and one hopes to find personal support
at local churches,
but these will never take the place
of face to face family support.
For us, being near family means that
our kids have more options than just
David and I for answers to questions,
for examples of how to live life in the best way possible,
for someone to talk to when Mom and Dad just grounded them
and for someone to bounce ideas off of and get advice from.
We are thrilled to be able to add this aspect to our lives
for the first time ever!
I don't think one can fully understand
the importance of being geographically close to family
unless they have lived without it.
I suppose some people avoid family by choice.
I've met people who would never want
to live in the same state as their family
or their in-laws,
but for us, this is a dream come true.
We've had a hole in our lives for the last 18 years
and we've longed for our kids to know and be known
by people who are related to them.
Bren has no idea what a cousin is,
but here in Maryland,
she has two!
She's also got two in Florida that will be able
to visit much more easily now that we are
on the east coast.

She's already relishing the idea
that all of these people love her
just because she exists!
She doesn't have to listen well,
dress well, do her homework well,
play soccer well, be funny,
cute or quiet.
They just love her because she is part of them.
She's finding her eyes in those she sees around her,
she's seeing the same noses, hands,
ears and hair color
and she is connecting the dots
that we all belong.
For my teens,
they are so excited to meet
everyone they can.
They are hanging on every story told to them
of the life experiences of our different family members.
They have also missed knowing where they come from
on a personal level
and now being able to see one half of it
in living, breathing people,
helps them place themselves in this big, big world.

Nothing is as precious as generations coming together
and celebrating the fact that
they belong to one another.
We had an amazing Mother's Day,
one I'd dreamed about for years.
I hope that you and yours did too.
If you are close enough to hug your
extended family,
do so every chance you get.
If you aren't....
have faith!
Your reunion will happen in God's perfect timing
(we waited 18 years!!)
if it is a desire of your heart.

Our household goods were delivered
the very next morning.
We got right to work and experienced yet another
perk to living near family....
another set of hands to help unpack boxes!
Interior photos coming soon!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Road Home.....

I know I'm skipping a post in here
(through West Virginia)
but now that I'm here,
I can't wait to post photos
of the final leg!
Michael is once again
our guest photographer for the day.

We were treated to blue skies and breathtaking views
as we made our way through
Western Maryland.

The long and winding road
brought us closer and closer to civilization
while still charming us with
untouched hills covered with a
thick blanket of green trees.
This surely must be an incredible drive
in autumn with the leaves change!

Michael was marveling at the many shades of green
we could see in the trees as we drove.
I've always said that the light shines differently here
and it was good to hear that someone else noticed it too.
The sun plays with the leaves and changes them from
light to dark and every shade of green in between
all on the same tree.
I'm not sure how to put it into words and not sound
like I'm painting the east coast as a utopia,
but one of the things I noticed was different
when we lived in California and Washington
was this kind of light play.
Does anyone else know what I'm talking about
or am I completely crazy?

Michael and I were
bouncing in our seats when we saw this sign!
Almost there!!

This is the tree lined road through the woods
that leads to our house!
We had just passed the street I grew up on
and there to the right,
deep in the woods (especially in the fall),
we used to be able to see the tree fort
that my brother and I built
when we were kids.
One of these days, I will take the kids to look for it
and see if there are any hints of it still there.

My mom was waiting on the front porch when we arrived.
She had done such an awesome job
getting the house ready for us.
She stocked it with snacks,
paper goods, towels
and cleaning supplies.
She even bought a welcome mat,
decorated a bathroom
and put a bow on the outdoor lamp!
She's amazing!
We have never transitioned into a home
easier than we have here!

Here is the outside view from Bren's swingset.
We are close to getting all of our belongings
put away and organized,
so inside photos will be coming soon!
I'm incredibly pleased with the house.
It is absolutely perfect for us
and we feel so blessed to be here!

Another little touch from my mom!

This little momma robin
has been keeping watch over the front porch
(and her nest of eggs).
We'll soon have a family of hungry baby birds
to peek at from the window.
The robin family is just one of the many
wildlife families we've seen so far.
There is a family of deer
(about 8 of them)
that frequent the ravine behind our house.
Foxes and racoons have been spotted
as well as one special box turtle that
I will blog about soon.
So far no snakes or too may creepy crawlies.
We are absolutely LOVING living in the woods.
Michael has already picked out the perfect rope swing tree
and he and Brendell go exploring every chance they get.
I'm overwhelmed with gratitude and filled with awe
when I think about the precious gift that
living back in this area is to me!
Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers
for us during our road trip!
It was so fun to share it with you!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Cross Country Road Trip Day 6....

Day 6 took us through
Iowa, Missouri, Indiana and Kentucky.
Michael is our guest photographer
again for this leg.

One thing that I can definitely say
about cross country road trips
aside from the fact that they insure family bonding
is that they make your world much bigger.

Growing up on the east coast,
I never really thought beyond the states I was familiar with.
I associated Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota
with cowboys, horses and wild west gun fights,
Kansas with Tornados and Dorothy
and Indiana with basketball.
Sadly, I never really even thought about Iowa.
and I've discovered that she is gorgeous!
The first thing that popped into my mind
when thinking about Kentucky was
fried chicken (of course).
By the way,
we tried to go to Kentucky fried chicken here in Kentucky
right after we checked into our hotel
and they were completely out of chicken
at 8:00 pm!
Kentuckians must love the chicken too!

While driving through the arteries
of America's heartland,
I can't help but become friends
with the states I'm driving through.
As I get to know each one,
I'm finding things that fascinate
and surprise me.

Each state has a personality
and a "feel" to them.
I like them all
and I'm glad I'm getting to know them
more and more with each mile we drive.

We are stopping in Jeffersontown, KY
This will be our second to last stop
before we get to our final destination.

Tomorrow we drive to our last stop
which will be Morgantown, WV.
After that we'll be in Crownsville, MD
and one journey will come to an end
while another one will be just beginning.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cross Country Road Trip Day 5....

Because we had to bypass
yellowstone due to weather,
we were able to take a fun day
at the Great Wolf Lodge
in Kansas City, Kansas.

I rode shotgun today
(followed by the two yahoos pictures above)
for the short drive from Iowa
to Kansas City,
so I will be your photographer for this leg.
Not much as far as scenery goes
since the drive was so short,
but I did capture a few farms and
people doing farm things.
I wonder how I would do living on a farm?
It seems so ideal and American,
but I'm so not a morning person.
My chickens would starve and
my cows would explode from having
too much milk.
Nope, I don't think a farm would suit me very well.

But I would like a cute little place like this
complete with an American flag
and a weathered barn.
I'd use it
just to relax a little once in a while,
wear a flowy dress with little flowers on it,
use words like darlin' and sugar,
ring one of those triangle things
to let all of my cowboys know that
dinner is ready,
and pretend that I live off the land
and don't care about where the nearest
shopping mall or starbucks is.
And I don't see any cows or chickens here,
so I think I'd be fine for a few days.
Plus who can resist a completely red house?

You could feel the excitement in the car
when we first caught a glimpse of
the Great Wolf Lodge!

I mean look at this place!
It's a kid's wonderland!
All three of them had a blast!!
And David LOVES waterparks,
so he really enjoyed our stay there too.
There are way too many photos to edit from
our stay there,
so here are some highlights....

I know, huh?
Sooooo cute!!

She's a little fish now!
A far cry from last summer when
we couldn't get her off of the steps
of any pool we were in!

Sorry there is not much comentary tonight,
but I think these photos speak for themselves.
Plus I am soooo tired after our
nine hour drive today.
I will share photos from our adventure
through Kansas, Missouri,
Indianna and finally to a hotel
in Kentucky.
(yes we did that all in one day!)
For now,
good night blog friends
and sweet dreams!