Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Brownies Do D.C.

My 6th grade class trip was to Washington, D.C. From our Virginia Beach, Virginia, elementary school, a 3-hour bus ride and back seemed like a big deal. (Boy was I disappointed to find out seniors are now going The Bahamas!)

I was born in a suburb outside of D.C. We moved to Virginia the summer after 2nd grade. Once I finished college, I moved back to the area until J and I got married.

A lot is the same about D.C., but a lot has changed--including my perspective. I feel privileged having the opportunity to share the rich history and beauty of our nation's capital with my kids.

Look kids, there's the White House! (A little bit more to the right...)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Stair Master

If we had moved directly into a one-story, handicap accessible house, we might have missed this.

It started with the 3 steps leading up from the den in my mother's house. In a matter of a weekend, Isaiah had found his way to the top.

Not one week later, and Isaiah had managed to scurry from the bottom of the main staircase to the top all by himself ~ pausing only briefly to flash a huge, proud grin.

Now, if he could only figure out how to get back down by himself, I'd be able to sleep at night...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Harbor Day

It's been just over a week since we moved back East. The girls started school late last week. And they have to wear school uniforms. My initial reaction was, "Great! No need to wonder what they are going to wear everyday! And bonus, they are going to MATCH."

But man, is shopping for them bo-ring. But I am very proud at how they are trying to adjust. We've asked a lot of them over the past several months. And they keep delighting us with their resilience.

Isaiah won't be attending the same school as his sisters for the first time in his school career. The girls' school doesn't offer the special services he requires. We had a placement meeting today and a special school across town was recommended for him. The Team had good things to say about the school, but not one of them mentioned having sent any of their own children there. So we have a little reconnaissance mission afoot.

But it hasn't been all business lately. We've also had some time to relax and enjoy our new surroundings.

Monday night we took the kids over to the National Harbor. I remember when neighbors around here were protesting the proposed plan to have it built. And to see it completed was nothing short of really neat.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Good Hair Day

Granny treated the girls to a trip to the beauty salon yesterday in preparation for their first day of school, which happens to be tomorrow. I think I'm more nervous than they are.

Even Isaiah got a fresh haircut!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tummy 2.0

Yesterday we surprised Isaiah with a brand new "Tummy" #2. As you might recall, "Tummy" #1 took an unexpected extended holiday in St. Louis.


I think they are going to be BFF 2.0:

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Home Sweet Home

This morning, I woke up to the sound of my mother's high heels. She was leaving for church. J and I were camped out on the floor in her den in front of the fireplace.

We are home.

After 9 days on the road, countless meals at Denny's, endless gas station fill-ups, desert, sun, snow, and ice---we made it safely to our new duty station on the East Coast.

I thank God for seeing us through both the physical and emotional aspects of this coast-to-coast journey. We have learned much along the way and hopefully our marriage and family will be stronger for it.

We've also lost a few things along the way:

*Lathrop, CA--left my phone charger in the hotel

*Sierra Vista, AZ--left my face cleanser in my sister's shower

*St. Louis, MO--the most devastating oversight, ever: we left Isaiah's beloved "Tummy", The Learning Puppy, in the hotel (along with Savannah's Star Wars notebook)

Our favorite hotel chain reported each loss, so the next hotel always had the information waiting for us. They are going to ship everything back to us here.

But I almost told them to keep Tummy--he is smelly and I was going to try to slip a new one in on Isaiah.

Hey Char--could you bring my Neutrogena with you on your next visit? ;)

Leaving Ohio yesterday, we made it to West Virginia.

Then right into Pennsylvania

Funny thing about West Virginia's shape and our route ~ we entered it twice


Home at last

Me and my map sure delivered, huh, Mommy?

Savannah was all smiles the closer we got to Grannie's house

We are here!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Are We There Yet?

When J helped me program my cell phone 2 years ago, he tweaked it so that I could always see the local Seattle time displayed along side the D.C. time. That way I'd always know what time it was back home.

I checked my phone and both locations are now displaying the same time. We are back on Eastern Standard Time. Not yet home, but definitely closer than ever.

We crossed over to Illinois this morning after the weather grounded us in St. Louis for the night. We trucked on through to Indiana, witnessing countless spin outs along the way. We decided to call it in a night in mid-Ohio.

Mariah at a snowy rest stop in Missouri

"Why is there only one arch and why isn't it golden?"

One of several big rigs in big ditches we passed today

Our final State-of-the-Day

Thursday, January 7, 2010

What Happens in New Mexahoma, Stays in New Mexahoma

Have you ever awakened and not known what day it is or where you are? I mean--a time when you hadn't been partying hard the night before? Yeah? Well, I was pretty close this morning. We tore through 3 states in one day. And I'm pretty sure we crossed a time zone. Into the Twilight Zone, no doubt.

We had a bee incident (no stings, thank God) in the van somewhere along the way which resulted in a chorus of screams and crying. Who knew J's voice could go so high...kid-ding! Mariah's screaming set off Isaiah's crying. Which in turn, set off my laughing. Then there was Daddy putting down every window in the van at 70+ miles per hour. We had no idea how long the insect had been stowing away, but man is he going to have one hilarious story to share with his little bee buddies.

Not so hilarious was the burst water main at our hotel in Alamogordo, New Mexico. No pool for the kids; no hot tub for me. Enter Mommy's chorus of screams and crying.

Last night we stayed in Oklahoma City, OK. It felt very familiar, especially since we spent 14 months stationed in Lawton after our first tour overseas.

It was also bittersweet because that is where Isaiah was born---at OU Medical Center downtown. He was transferred to Integris Baptist Hospital's NICU when he was just a few hours old. And that's where he spent the first few days of his life.

Looking at him today makes me wonder why I ever worried.

You'd think they did all the driving

My boys at a rest stop in New Mexico

New Mexico ~ the sky

The same day we left New Mexico, we barreled through Texas...

...with a stop at an Amarillo "Chick-Fil-A" for a much-anticipated nuggets break...

...eventually pulling into Oklahoma City to make it a 3-state kind of day.

After having to switch rooms due to a "plumbing issue", our new view was the Bricktown ball park. They had some sort of sledding device setup, but man--it was too cold to breathe