Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Auburn Creed

THE AUBURN CREEDI believe that this is a practical world and that I can
count only on what I earn. Therefore, I believe in work, hard work.
I believe in education, which gives me the knowledge to work wisely and trains my
mind and my hands to work skillfully.
I believe in honesty and truthfulness, without which I cannot win the respect and confidence of my fellow men.
I believe in a sound mind, in a sound body and a spirit that is not
afraid, and in clean sports that develop these qualities.
I believe in obedience to law because it protects the rights of all. I believe in the
human touch, which cultivates sympathy with my fellow men and mutual helpfulness
and brings happiness for all.
I believe in my Country, because it is a land of freedom and because it is my own home, and that I can best serve that country by "doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with my God."

And because Auburn men and women believe in these things, I believe in
Auburn and love it. -George Petrie (1945)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Really...a year??

I cannot believe that it has been a year (well, now over a year) since I watched strangers pack up my house, we loaded our two vehicles and made the long drive to Virginia. I was anxious, excited, fearful, optimistic, nervous, etc. I never imagined all of those emotions--and then some--could be felt all at the same time. At the same time I was crying as I drove out of my parent's I was excited about starting a new life in a new place!
So last weekend as I watched Georgia slaughter Auburn (GRRRR!) in the comfort of my living room in Northern Virginia, it occured to me that we had almost passed our one-year anniversary of living here. In fact, my mom was calling me all the way up here last November giving me "updates" of the Auburn-Georgia game. Of course, last year Auburn won but that's a story for another day. I really think my mom was as nervous about our leaving the lovely Southeast as I was and her phone calls were not really to update me on the game but to make sure that her babies were OK. I put on a good face when I'd talk to her. I remember saying, "mom, I can do this. I'm gonna be OK." On the inside I was literally dying. On the outside I was trying not to cry in front of my little daughter who was jam packed in the back of the mini-van with Niblets the Guinea pig and 14 hours worth of Junie B Jones books, movies, coloring books, and toys.
So here I am a year later having survived an earthquake, hurricane and snow in October and haven't packed up an left yet. In fact, I think there may have been a bet out there on just how long it would take me to run home (just kidding!) I have to say that adjusting to life in a (sorta) northern town has been alright. My career has taken a different path than I ever imagined and I am loving every second of it. I am back in school and although 12 hours may have been a bit much to tackle in one semester while working, it's been ok. I have met some of the nicest and kindest people you can imagine and being able to show my little daughter places and culture she may not have otherwise seen is priceless. We have visisted all over DC--toured the White House, the Smithsonians multiple times, toured the National Capital, been up in the Washington Monument twice, seen the Cherry Blossoms, listened to Newt Gingrich speak on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, been to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC, played in the snow, been to the local "tourist sights," and so much more.
I was talking to my daddy earlier today and telling him how excited I am to get to come home during Christmas. He told me that he always thought that when you move away and come home, that "home" seems different to you than when you lived at "home." I disagree on that point. I don't think it really matters where we live, driving in that long driveway of my parents house will always be one of the best feelings in the entire world. Walking in to the sights and smells and hugs of my family will always tantalize my senses more than any cherry blossoms or historical sights. Those of you who have been to my parent's house know exactly what I am talking about :)
Through all of the ups and downs there has not been one day that I ever wondered why I married a soldier. People will say, "you knew what you were getting into when you married him." That is true but yet it's really not. Honestly I didn't know what I was getting into but I was willing to find out.
Last year for Thanksgiving we had moved into our townhouse but were sleeping on air mattresses and sitting in fold up chairs in the living room. We did bring a television up with us in the mini-van so we could watch the Auburn-Alabama game on Friday after Thanksgiving but aside from those few items we were living in a furniture-less house. Now if you ask my husband he will say that we brought alot more with us than the above mentioned items--and we did as I am not a trusting soul when it comes to my treasures (quilts my grandmother made, photos, children's art, etc.) but as far as furniture that is all we had. The movers were not set to come until the Monday after Thanksgiving with our belongings. I was so depressed thinking that we were going to be in this townhouse without furniture on Thanksgiving. I had never in my whole life spent a Thanksgiving away from my parents, grandparents, brother and his family and my oldest daughter. We ended up having a FABULOUS day though. My brother in law and sister in law live in NJ and graciously invited us up to spend Thanksgiving with them. We ended up driving up (I got to cross the Delaware River on the way,) took the train down to NYC, saw the Macy's Parade, and then traveled back up to NJ for a scrumptious Thanksgiving dinner with family. They worked so hard to make sure it was a very special day as they knew how hard it was for me to be away. This year we are SO excited that they are coming to our house for Thanksgiving. In fact, I cannot wait. It's tough being away from home but having family coming in just a few days makes it just a fun time!!
So Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! We are all so very blessed. I am so thankful to have this crazy Army life that I have now. I would not trade these blessings for the world!

Monday, September 5, 2011

New Beginnings...again

I spoke in a previous journal entry about the phrase "bloom where you are planted." So--here I find myself once again clinging to that phrase as yet another phase of this crazy Army life begins. No we are not moving again. Not yet. Hopefully not for a long time.
It's funny that a friend of many years published a photo on FB of a random flower growing in spot where you would not expect something that beautiful to grow with the phrase "bloom where you are planted" just as yet another new phase in our lives begin.
My husband has moved to work at another facility as Walter Reed has officially closed. It's such a unique thing to live up here. Another Army wife said something to me right after we moved that struck home in that you could literally rotate where you work and live all around the beltway. Literally.
I have started a new direction in my career and am very nervous and very excited all the same time. Bloom where you are planted. I keep thinking, "Ok, God..I'm not sure why you have planted me here but show me how to grow." I am very thankful and very blessed that I have made friends who have said to me recently as I start this new endeavor that "we are going to be your prayer warriors and you are going to be fine." I was afraid that when I moved up here it was going to be difficult to develop relationships because it is such a huge place..however, I have met some of the most wonderful new friends and so very thankful.
When I was in Girl Scouts I learned a song about making new friends and keeping the old. A few weeks ago the little daughter had a friend over to spend the night and they were discussing how they hoped they would once again be put in the same classroom when school started. Since we didn't know exactly which of the 2 classes each would be in and if they would be in the same one, I started trying to talk to them about how it will be OK if they end up in different classes. I guess at that age it is hard to comprehend the fact that you can be separated and still be just as close and also they would have the opportunity make even more friends. As I tried to explain all of this to these sweet girls, I thought to myself how blessed I am to have the means to stay in touch with friends we leave when we move and now have "prayer warriors" where I am now. God really does give you what you need to grow and keep those roots strong--even when you move away.
So, all in one week, literally we got through a 5.9 earthquake and a Hurricane that blew through (not as bad as Opal down in Alabama though.) Although when our whole house started shaking and things started falling off the walls and the little one came running down the stairs screaming, "I want to go back to Georgia," I have to say I was thinking the same thing but we did not pack up our hoop skirts and head back South (not yet anyway!) Maybe my roots have grounded a little bit stronger than I thought!! I did learn one thing--I DO NOT LIKE EARTHQUAKES, SAM I AM!! In this same week, I started back to school, a new job (sorta) and my husband said goodbye to Walter Reed forever. And the ground shook! One of my friends sent me a message asking if my moving here had upset the whole weather pattern in Northern VA??!! An earthquake AND a hurricane all in the same week? Really???!!!
Happy Labor Day to you all and best wishes for a great week to you all!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


So tomorrow is the closing ceremony of an icon--Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The colors of this icon will be forever cased. That's right. Soon, this iconic hospital of all that is Army medicine will close it's doors forever. As crazy as it sounds, I feel honored to be living in this area at the close of Walter Reed and bear witness to such a momentuous occasion. To me, as a nurse, it is such a definining moment in Army medicine. Walter Reed has always been the "be all, end all" to the Army medical system. It was the place that our wounded warriors came straight from that we would receive in Georgia at the smaller MEDDAC where I worked before the move. Now it is the venue of the beginning of my husband's career as an Army nurse. My younger daughter and I went out to the hospital today so that I could get immunization records updated as I am returning to school (I guess I'll be a perpetual student in some form or another.) We walked through "the tunnel" to the "old" Walter Reed. As I transitioned from the new building to the building that once housed patients in days gone by, I was humbled at the thought of the footsteps that had come before ours. My mind automatically shifted to my grandmother who is 89 years old. I have spent countless hours listening to the stories of old told by her, my grandfather and her siblings. One of these stories was about my Great Uncle Robert. Uncle Robert was a patient at the "old" Walter Reed many, many years ago after WWII. He was a patient there for a long time. My grandmother and her siblings would ride a bus from Alabama all the way to Washington DC to stay with Uncle Robert. At some point, the family was called to stay with him around the clock. This went on for months. They were on a first-name basis with the nurses and staff. Perhaps they stayed somewhere like what is now Fisher House. My grandmother has spoken countless times of them having lodging nearby and the good food they always had while staying with Uncle Robert. My grandmother has told me about coming in one door and walking out of another (thinking she was walking out of the same door) and ending up on a completely different street block. Trust me, getting turned around in DC is not that difficult. It's funny because older people tend to tell us the same stories over and over and more frequently as they age. To some, it's annoying to hear the same stories. To me, it just reinforces my heritage. My mother has actually recorded some of these stories. They are priceless. When we found out we were coming up here last year as the first duty station after my husband graduated nursing school, I was none too happy. My grandmother went on and on about what a fabulous place Walter Reed is. I don't think she realized that the hospital she knew was now a collage of offices, a library, a small PX and other necessary adjuncts to the hospital but nonetheless, I cannot help but think of her everytime I go through the tiny gate onto the property of Walter Reed. I took my parents to see the old Walter Reed during their visit and my mother and I, along with my daughter and nephew have stood on the steps together of the place where my grandmother and her siblings spent so much time--cried so many tears--shared so many hugs with their brother before he passed. So there have been officially 4 generations to walk in those footsteps--my grandmother, my mother, me and my daughter and my nephew. How wonderful to have that legacy!

Uncle Robert passed away with his loving family around him just on the otherside of this tunnel through which we passed today. Wow..and all these years later, here we are walking where maybe he walked, where my grandmother and her brothers and sisters walked and so many after them...

So my daughter and I finished our business in the old Walter Reed and transitioned through this tunnel back into the new hospital that very soon will be also known as the "old" Walter Reed. Again, I was humbled at the footsteps in this building. Now, some of those footsteps include my husband's and friends that I have met and have grown to care for dearly. I try to explain to my little daughter at the legacies in these two buildings and although I am not sure she understands, I plan on through the stories she will hear over and over as the years go by, I hope that someday she will also feel the same humble pride that I feel.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

There's no place like home...

I think Dorothy was exactly right when she quoted the title I have used for this journal entry...there is definately no place like home! Of course, I have made our home in Virginia but to me, HOME will always be in Alabama where I grew up and where my parents still live. It's funny when you return home as an adult, it's almost like you never left in the first place. The kitchen is still a place of yummy smells and the sound of my mother preparing something wonderful for us all. Daddy still watches westerns on TV and there are still deer parading around the yard at all hours of the day and night! There is still the familiar and welcoming sights, sounds and smells and home but most of all, there is always alot of love to welcome us home!
Since my husband seems to working all kinds of hours --crazy hours I might add--the last 2 trips home (about 14-15 hrs) has been made by my youngest daughter and me alone. The trip right after Christmas was wonderful and even more special because my oldest daughter came back with us. I was dreading more than you could know the long drive home at the end of our visit after having to say goodbye to my parents, oldest daughter and grandparents. That's the worse part about a wonderful visit--having to say goodbye (or "see you later" as I like to say) at the end. This time, however, my mother surprised me on the day of our arrival with the news that she had found some wonderfully priced plane tickets for her and Daddy and they were thinking about driving back with me and my little one. Before the evening was over, we'd decided to inquire as to if my sweet nephew who was visiting could come back with us. Thankfully, his parents ok'd the trip and my mother promptly purchased three tickets for a flight from Dulles to Atlanta! I was overjoyed--thrilled beyond words!
The time in Alabama was fabulous! I was able to visit with my grandparents who are unable to travel, spend alot of time with my daughter who has a summer job down there and visit with my brother who came down for the day! Spending time with my niece and nephew was so nice! I didn't get to see them last visit so it just made me feel so happy to have that time! My girls and I had a sweet lunch with one of my best friends the day before we left and before I realized it, we'd sat and chat for almost 3 hours.
True to form, the day before we left for VA, my mom was busy in the kitchen making cookies, brownies and pound cakes to bring on the road trip. She'd packed fresh tomatoes from their garden, bread and all kinds of snacks for the road as well! We left early and headed back to VA and I could not have been happier.
I found out during this visit something about my mother that I never knew. Funny you spend 39 years as a woman's daughter and you still learn new things! I discovered that my love for Rod Stewart is shared by my mother! Wow! Riding north listening to Rod Stewart with your mom is just one of the coolest things! The traffic stunk on the north side of Charlotte as we decided to travel I-81 instead of I-85 so my nephew could see the mountains. It was all worth it as I heard his comments of "how beautiful" and "this is AWESOME" from the back seat as we came through. Eventually we arrived in VA and were greeted by my sweet husband and I was very happy to see him. I have to wonder why it is that a family cannot just be together in the same town forever and ever and that way everybody would just be together--that would be my idea of perfect. Anyway, since he had to work the next day, my parents, the kids and I headed out the next morning and the first stop was Georgetown for a yummy cupcake from one of my moms and my favorite television reality shows--DC Cupcakes. The line was not that long and after a walk down to the Potomac River we leaded up and headed down into DC so my nephew could see the monuments, etc. Listen--the 4th of July holiday weekend is NOT the time to find a parking place in DC and after riding aimlessly around without parking success, we decided to head over to Walter Reed so that my parents could see where my husband worked. As I expected they were touched as I always am at the sights of this famous hospital. My mother and I both left teary-eyed partly because of sadness but also partly because of pride that there are those (and their families) who are happy to make sacrifices for our freedom and our glorious Country. We also were able to see the "old" Walter Reed where my great-uncle died many, many years ago after being a patient for months. My grandmother and her siblings spent countless weeks with him during that time. I cannot say how many times I have heard my grandmother tell the stories of staying with him and how kind the staff at that hospital were to them. After the visit where we had found my husband being a very busy nurse, we decided to see if DC was still so crowded. After dropping Daddy and the kids off at the Air and Space Museum, Momma and I found a parking place--glory hallelujah! Thank goodness my mother can parallel park because I cannot do it to save my life. We had a nice time that day but were exhausted after getting home that evening!
The next day, we did the visit into DC. We packed a picnic lunch (my mother is so frugal and organized) and decided after researching our route to take the metro into Union Station and buy tickets for the "Hop-On, Hop-off tour bus."Momma and I had done this type of tour a few years ago in NYC and had a great experience. We got off at a park in DC , had our lunch at some point and enjoyed our tour and narrated history of DC. The following day was the 4th of July--Independance Day. My mother had said last summer when my husband received order to this place that she was hoping that this 4th of July she'd be able to see the National fireworks display--and that she did! We started our day trying to go to Arlington to see the Changing of the Guards but due to the holiday CHAOS the roads were not accessible. Somehow we stumbled upon a HUGE parking lot near the Pentagon and fortunately it was open for the event. We had just the right spot to see the beautiful and marvelous fireworks offered by our Nations Capitol. After a quick trip to the grocery store, we were all set. Husband had put chairs in the van and so with chairs and food in town, we camped out to wait for dark. The kids ran around and played and we enjoyed some wonderful conversation! I have to say that I enjoyed the fireworks but I more so enjoyed the looks in the eyes of my mother as she'd always dreamed of seeing this display. It is a look I shall never forget. After sleeping in the following morning, we had breakfast and headed out to the NRA Museum. Wow--I had never realized this museum was so close to our house. My dad thoroughly enjoyed it. His face seeing the items in that museum is another site I shall never forget! I took my mom to Tyson's mall (which is the biggest I've ever been in) and it was there we all gathered around a television at one of the restaurants to watch the Casey Anthony verdict be revealed. Have to say Daddy and I have both been enthralled by the goings on of that trial. I was specifically interested in the forensic portion of the trial. I also have to say that I was disappointed in the verdict but was not completely surprised b/c of the lack of stone hard evidence. After being stuck on I-66 west for over an hour (and moving less than 3 miles during that time) we finally made it home that evening. The next day which was the day I had been dreading, we loaded up everything and everyone and went to the air and space museum near Dulles Airport. I think I like it better than the one in the district. Too bad we didn't know about that one and went when we had more time (mental note made for their next visit.) Sadly, I had to then take my precious parents and nephew to the airport for their trip home. I wanted to climb in their suitcase and go home with them. I cried the rest of the afternoon and part of the next day but finally decided I really had to get it together. I started thinking about a potential date for my next visit home and that made me feel better. On Thursday, the little one and I ventured out to Walter Reed again to attend a Luau Farewell party in honor of Ward 57. Since Walter Reed will be closing it's doors soon, this was done in conjunction with staff farewells. I met some wonderful ladies and gentlemen who are part of a group called Operation Ward 57 and was happy to see that Georgetown Cupcakes donated 72 cupcakes to the event. The patients and their families seem to enjoy "their day" and I felt very blessed to be a part of this event as well.
So that's it in a nutshell. I loved going home and I loved bringing home with me. I learned again something during these last 2 weeks and that is that home is not just a house of bricks but everything that makes that house a home--it's smells, the sights, the sounds and more than anything the love in that home and within those who dwell in its walls.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Daddy's hands...Momma's strength..

Today I had lunch with a dear friend who is moving back to Texas at the end of the week and the topic of conversation ended up at some point being about my Daddy. I told her about how my dad was gentle, yet firm..strict, yet lenient and one of the few "good guys" left in the world. I told her about how he taught my mom and me to fire a weapon and also to fish. He taught me how to shoot a bow and arrow as well. He (along with my mom) taught me that hard work is a good thing and how important it is to be able to look in the mirrow at the end of a work day and know you gave over 100 percent.
While I was living with an avid hunter and a man who felt that knowing how to defend one's self (as well as how to bait a hook) is very important, I was also living with Emily Post herself! Just kidding but I WAS living with a mother who believed that etiquette and class are 2 important characteristics for one to possess. We spent countless hours with her teaching me how to set a table and why there may be multiple forks on your left. I always figured that it was silly to set more than one fork at the table--seriously, why would you need more than one fork? I could eat my meal and my dessert with the same fork and that was no big deal. I could not understand why I needed to know that the fork, spoon and knife needed to be aligned along the bottom of the place setting and even more so, I could not understand why a high noon event had to be so prim and proper. Seriously, why must I wear hose and closed toed shoes in the middle of summer to a high noon wedding--nonsense. I would have rather been outside riding my dirt bike through mud puddles. But momma did not back down. I learned the finer things in life--how to shoot a bow and arrow, how to set a table, how to bait a hook and how to eat with my napkin perfectly unfolded in my lap and my left hand on top of it. Looking back, my mother must have been born with the patience of a saint to put up with my shananigans. My dad must have been born with courage to trust me with a bow and arrow. As I grew older, I realized how important these things would become. Once I married a soldier, I found myself in a world of military balls and very classy women. It is in this world that I was so happy and thankful to have a mother who took the time to nurture me and teach me these little things that would keep me from embarrassing myself. I watched so many young women at the first ball I attended as an Army wife not knowing which fork to pick up first with elbows planted firmly on the table and I was I realized that my mother really did know what she was talking about. She had taught me to behave like a lady. She had also taught me to have enough pride to WANT to behave like a lady. My dad..his steady hands taught me to fear those things which only warranted my fear but to see things clearly and not through rose colored glasses. He carefully taught me that the world was not full of white picket fences and roses but also to not let the turkey's get me down. Through the combined efforts of my parents, my brother and I learned self dependance and confidence to tackle life as it came. Granted, my brother did this with a little more grace than I but I still feel that I have been successful at this endeavor --afterall, I have not yet had a nervous breakdown nor have I packed my bags and moved back to the South since we've moved to VA. I have conquered DC traffic and although I still despise I-66 and the Beltway, it hasn't scared me away yet.
So this blog is dedicated to my parents who through steady hands and strength have taught me so many important life-skills. More than anything though, they have taught me to love myself and like the person looking back at me in the mirrow. My mother has taught me how to be a friend by being one to me. My dad has taught me to continuously look at the details and not miss a single thing! For these attributes (among many others) I am very thankful to God!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

It was 1970 (and 1980) something ...

So my friend Tessa did a note on Facebook that has prompted this blog. My childhood was spent through the 1970's and 1980's and I have to say things have changed!!

--I remember getting our first VCR. Actually before that we rented one to watch special VHS tapes from the Piggly Wiggly. When we got our first one it was HUGE!! Now we have a very thin, lightweight DVD player that my 7 year old can work better than me!!
--I remember my grandparents picking us up from school--my grandfather in his old yellow truck and my grandmother driving her blue Buick. Those were GRAND times! My grandmother always had yummy snacks and we watched "Leave it to Beaver" and the "Munster's" reruns. It was a great time!!
--My dad and I rode his motorcycle. This why I do not like motorcycles today. After we had an accident going down a hill to go to the lake, the motorcycle went away forever.
--I remember my mother taking dancing lessons and us dancing together in the living room. I can still see BeBe doing the box step!
--I remember fishing with my parents and my grandparents and also spending countless hours at the lake. Daddy bought a boat that we thought had to be the fastest boat ever..and it you measured the happy moments on the boat in terms of dollars, we'd be worth millions!
--I remember my grandparents taking us ice skating in Montgomery every spring break (and during the summer.) I thought that was super cool!
--I remember a family vacation through South Carolina to visit Ft. Sumpter and Boone Hall plantation, to Washington DC where I was able to witness the 125th anniversary of the Battle of Manassas..we visited all around DC, went to Hershey Pennsylvania, Williamsburg and so many places in between ..and we had the best tour guides possible--my mom's cousin and his sweet family!! Wonderful, wonderful trip!
--I remember the countless flowers my Mema had in her yard. She truly had a green thumb and they were her pride and joy. She had the most gorgeous hydrangeas you could imagine.
--I also remember my MeMa making lunch for everyone. Her house was the gathering place for my cousins at lunch..she'd make something for everyone in one meal. It was nothing to have fried chicken, vegetables and cornbread along with pizza for the kids.
--I remember the day we got our dog Mitzi. She was the prettiest Brittany Spaniel you ever could imagine--and the sweetest little dog ever!
--I remember the day Mitzi visited school one day when our class was outside doing our lessons. The school was close to our house. I looked up and there she came. I guess she sensed that her girl was close by and came to learn some Spanish!
--I remember thinking that getting to go to the Arcade to play those big bulky video games was just the coolest thing ever! Now we can play them on our cell phones!
--I remember when the Space Shuttle exploded--very sad.
--I remember going roller skating and thinking getting to roller skate to the Beach Boys was cool.
--I remember as a little girl getting to go sleep over with my older cousin, Nancy and then when she moved away, my other cousin and I got to go spend the weekend. We thought it was just such a treat as we thought Nancy the coolest person in the world (and I still do!)
--I remember vividly the day we went to Montgomery to adopt my baby brother. Getting to sign my name of the paper for him is as clear as if it happened yesterday. What a fabulous day!

The list could literally go on and on..happy, fun times with my parents and family. I can only hope and pray that my daughters will be able to remember such fun times growing up someday! We are blessed!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

April Showers....

bring May flowers?? If this is true, we should have ALOT of May flowers in this area! We have had so much rain that I have considered the fact that perhaps we should all be driving boats instead of cars with wheels.
But with the rain brings opportunities--yes, opportunities. Opportunities to play a board game of scrabble with a 6 year old, make home made pizza instead of grilling out (messy dough, flour on the floor--lots of fun,) read a book, watch a good movie (or go to a movie,) or even use coupons for a family bowling game. Or even better, PLAY in the rain!
I have to say that I have enjoyed the rain (the thunder and lightening and tornado warnings I could do without) ...but the rain..the sweet sound of rain on the roof is just heavenly. Since our main living area is now on the 2nd floor, I can open the blinds and see from sorta a birds eye view the rain coming down. From our bedroom I can hear the rain hitting the deck. It's a nice, relaxing sound.

So life in a kind of northern town has turned out to be not so bad. I recently celebrated my first birthday away from home. What I thought was going to be a tearful day turned out to be a very good day! My new friend here texted me early to ask if I wanted to have lunch with her that day after an appointment I had at Ft. Belvoir. I was so giddy! So she and I enjoyed a fabulous lunch at my new favorite Japanese restaurant and evening was completed with a birthday cake and singing from my husband and daughter. It could not have been a better day!

This week is Easter Break for my little daughter and we have some fun things planned-we bowled yesterday (with coupons I have acquired along,) seeing a movie today with free movie passes we got the last time we went and Thursday, my little daughter will attend an officer wives luncheon with me. I have to say I am super excited about that for several reasons. The first being that I get to spend this time with my little daughter, second, I get to spend this time with some of the most wonderful ladies one could meet and thirdly, the guest speaker is a quilter. What a great combination, huh? I think we may do a little sewing this week (since it's supposed to be rainy) and we are sure to have lots of laughs. But--we also plan to focus on the reason of the week. We have talked at length and will continue to do so regarding the meaning of Holy Week and the reason for the Easter celebration. We are happy that my husband will be able to attend church with us Sunday as he has missed the last 2 Sunday's.

At any rate, I hope you all have a wonderful week. I hope you learn that it's OK to dance in the rain, use coupons when you have them and value all that God has to offer--even the rainy, dreary days!

Monday, February 28, 2011

OK...March is here (almost)...

Let's end February on a positive note:

1) We have, indeed, have a new church home! I know it's the right church home b/c not only did a meet a couple with ties to Columbus but also to our church home in Columbus. Also, the minister preached on my biggest enemy yesterday--worry and mentioned one particular thing right in the middle that has been on my mind alot lately. My husband swears he did not say anything to him to prompt this but I almost fell out of my seat when he spoke on the topic.
2) I am not upset that our lower level is not put together as I'd thought it would be at this point in the transition (big shock to those who know my Type A personality and "everything has a place and everything has to be in its place" mentality.)
3) I have now driven into Fort Myer for a luncheon and to Georgetown to take the little one to Georgetown Cupcakes (aka DC Cupcakes for you reality show junkies like me) without any major drama. Did get turned around a little on Fort Myer but found where I needed to be without much difficulty.
4) It's gorgeous weather and Spring is definately around the corner--at least every day does not require a heavy coat, gloves, hat, scarf, etc.
5) Hubby is doing well at work and transitioning from into the "nurse world" nicely. The little one is still doing well in school and my older daughter is losing college even more this year!
6) Our youngest daughter lost her first tooth earlier in the month. She even wrote the tooth fairy a special letter to PLEASE let her keep it since it was the very first one she lost. The tooth fairy thought the letter extremely sweet (and I think it may have brought a tear or two upon reading it.)

So--amidst the rain and nasty weather on this last day of February, I am feeling pretty good, still, about our new home. Some days, I still feel homesick but the warmer weather, new friends, a new church and feeling more settled has helped! I am looking forward to a trip to Boston this summer with my sister in law for the Susan B. Koman 3-day Walk. We are planning some sightseeing time as well but looking forward to participating in such a special and wonderful cause. For me, watching my grandmother go through breast cancer as well as close friends over the years is the driving force to do all that I can possibly do.

I am ready for the all famous Cherry Blossom Festival to arrive here in DC. After years of hearing about it, I am super excited to see these beautiful trees for myself!

We have continued our sightseeing endeavors complete with a tour of the White House and Capital. Granted the White House tour had to be set up through a State Representative but it was worth the wait to see the excitement in my little one's eyes!

Did I mention I have a new niece or nephew on the way?? That's right, my brother and his wife are expecting baby #3! I could not be happier!!

So goodbye February! You have been a good month!! Hello March!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Bloom Where You are Planted...

I went to a Women's Conference at Ft. Benning a few years ago and this was the theme. I remember thinking that it was odd and the flowers planted in boots was even more odd..however, I have learned over time that to "bloom where you are planted" is such an important quality to have especially when one is married to the military.

So I guess I could say that I am "blooming" in Northern Virginia. It's no secret among my family and friends that this move was met with resistance on my part. I recently wrote a paper about the stages of change from a text book stance and I have found that those writers of text books really do know what they are talking about! My cousin's wife who is a very seasoned military spouse (he is now retired though) told me early on in the planning for this move to see it as a new adventure. She reiterated to me to basically put on a good face, expanding on to say that the attitude of a wife can make or break the career of the husband. In other words--"bloom where you are planted."

So although I won't say I am to the point of complete contentment, I am happy to say that I am beginning to feel that I am at home here. First task was to find a school for the little one--this was completed within 48 hours of our arrival. Second task was to find a home. This was done relatively quickly after deciding on a school--although I will say that we had a pretty good idea of which school and the general area we'd try to live in before we left Georgia. Third task--find a church. Finding a church was not necessarily 3rd on our list of priorities as we'd already started researching churches before we moved but this task did take a little while longer. In mid-December we visited a church after visiting several and have been going there ever since. It's warm and friendly and I feel comfortable and very welcome. The ministers are just wonderful and each have taken the time to personally contact us on a regular basis and make sure that we know that they are happy we are there. What more could we ask for? Task number 3 completed!

The museums around are fascinating and we were so blessed to have my oldest daughter here for a week before she flew to Arizona for the National Championship game in January. Having both my children under the same roof was simply a joy that is indescribable. She and I did alot of sightseeing and had a really nice time together. We have also taken our youngest daughter to the museums, monuments, the White House and the Capital. I feel like our young daughter has a golden opportunity to experience things that many do not get to do until they are adults--and some never are able to experience this wonderful area. It is my hope that she too
will "bloom!"

Personally I am in the mecca of Civil War history so I am content with that part! A new friend described this area as the "mecca" in regards to Civil War history and I think that is a perfect description. As a young girl, I have always been fascinated by the Civil War and it's notable figures and events. I am itching to tour the battlegrounds in the area and have already been out to Manassas twice but the weather has not cooperated to really spend alot of time outdoors. My brother tells me that we should visit the battlegrounds around the same time of the year that the battles actually occured. I don't know if I can wait! It's ironic that I was at the 125th Anniversary of the Battle of Manassas (the first one) 25 years ago and will be here for the 150th Anniversary. During the same trip 25 years ago, we went to Gettysburg and that hallowed ground was one of my favorite places we visited. I remember as a young girl, feeling the solemness of the grounds. Also the Cherry Blossom Festival is right around the corner and I have to admit, the thought of seeing those beautiful trees in full bloom is exciting!

So, although I feel that my transition here and the "process of accepting change" is still an ongoing process for me, I am determined to bloom where God has put us for the time being. I have always been told told and proclaimed to believe that things do not happen by accident and where we are placed in life is certainly no accident but for a purpose. Now is the time for me to put this belief into action and call Northern Virginia "home."