Friday, December 30, 2005

A very special Christmas Gift

We finally made it back from our adventure to the valley. We had a great time with family and friends, and received many gifts and blessings from our loved ones. There is one of note that I would like to share. My cousin, Lance-Corporal Tyler Troyer was killed in Iraq on November 19th of this year. His mother had just received a box of his belongings, and I was given some of the motomails that I had sent him and an envelope addressed to me (us) but it had been opened, and was empty. Long story short, yesterday I was given what was assumed to be the letter meant to be in that envelope. I wonder if he maybe was also referring to some things my dad had sent him....I know dad mentioned how sorry he/we were at the loss of his friends as well. Maybe it was reopened to add a future note that was never written? We can all think what we'd like, right?

I cannot thank Terri & Michael enough for giving it to me...there really isn't any indication that it was written to me, other than it was apparently an extra and there was the empty ennvelope addressed to me. Anyway, I cherish it and am very protective of it....children have to wash their hands before touching it. :) I will do as Aunt LeAnn did, and type as written.

The letter is dated Oct 30, 05

Hi everybody,

I am sorry that I didn't write sooner. things around here have been really busy. We really don't get much time to ourselves. But I finally found some time to write.
Well I don't know what to write about. I bet you already know a lot. When we first got here it was about 130 (degrees) durring the day and a cool 110 (degrees) at night. Now its about 100 (degrees) durring the day and a cold 60-70(degrees) at night. The lifestyle of the people here is very different than ours. There are no police or driving laws. Very few people have running water. They take a bath in a river, that is very dirty, once a week. They hate dogs. Trash is everywhere. They dont have indoor bathrooms. They go to the bathroom in a hole outside, no poty to sit on. They dont use TP after they go to the bathroom they use water and there left hand. yeah gross! 95% are muslum and pray 5 times a day. There is a lot more but that would take to long to talk about.
Not too much is going on here. Just the same old stuff you hear on the news. As you have already heard I lost 4 friends in a road side bomb. There families are doing good and so is my platoon. We are working hard and doing our job. But thing are ok. I'm tired, hungry and I havent showered in 2 weeks. I cant wait to get home. But I have to go now theres work to do. I thank everyone for your prayers they really do help and its great to know you all care. I love you guys
(signed in Arabic...Tyler)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Alert: Babysitter outsmarts wards

Last night we went out to dinner and a movie with the same "good friends" of ours that brought us George. They recommended the BEST salad I've ever had and it was so big, it was sufficient to share with Mr. SAHM. He is usually not a willing "meal sharer", but knowing he'd get popcorn at the movie motivated him (or was it the half-price?). However, once he'd had his half, he did say it was a very good, satisfying meal! Crispy chicken salad served with warm bread. Then, took the baby home, put her to bed, checked in with the other kids and the sitter, who said they were playing the "quiet game", and off to "King Kong".

This morning, Tavin said they had to play the quiet game the entire evening! Ha! (Which was only 1 1/2 hours until they went to bed.) But, when I had gotten there to put baby Lucy down, it was NOT quiet. Anyway, she said they were "bribed" with dollar tree items. Even though they knew they didn't have to "win", they are just to greedy, I mean competitive, to actually try to have fun instead. Kudos to the sitter. Our kids are her "teeth cutting" experience, babysitting wise and I'd say she's doing very well!

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Monday, December 19, 2005

Hello Kitty

We have a new addition to our family! And no, it is NOT human. We have "rescued" a cat that is chewing on my blinds' chord as I type. We have a good friend that works at a theater very close to our home. This unfortunate creature began showing up last week and was fed chicken from the deli by the staff. He (still a "full" he) appeared to have been well-cared for, but either was very lost or abandoned. Knowing that we are suckers, I mean caring and compassionate people, our friend called us to tell us of this opportunity. I let Mr. SAHM answer the question and was very surprised when he accepted. Several dollars later we have litter, litter box (big rubbermaid works as well and is cheaper than a "litter box" by name), food, and a pet door that will be installed today to our garage. George, as he was named, is very well behaved, already litter box trained (although cats are much easier to train there than dogs), and very quiet. He has had no "accidents" in the house, even though it is up to us to put him in the garage to use his facilities until his door is installed. He arrived Saturday night and is just today beginning to play and cavort around. We estimate him to be 1 year old. He is a beautiful sable/black striped combination. As to how he got his name.....Well, I tried. It was decided that we would all put our "nomination" in a bowl and whichever was drawn would be it. So, amongst such clever and apt names as "Festivus or Fezzy", "Newman", "Cosmo", and "Curious" (which our eldest daughter was sure was the baby's nomination because she smiled when someone said "Curious George"), "George" was selected...Which made the boy very happy, as it was his choice.

We are delaying our trip to the valley due to weather. Hopefully we will still be able to stay at my sister's house enroute...Or our sons will surely drive us mad. If not, we will have to come up with a clever substitution or alternate plans. Maybe a trip to the moon would make it fair in their minds if we have to cancel? What do you think, Mel?

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Happy Anniversary!

Today is my 11th wedding anniversary! It's also snowing outside. So far, it is the most we've seen, beyond very tiny flakes that don't stick. It is coming down more and sticking this time. So, Big Sister and Big Brother are outside playing while baby girl is in here yelling. Such a nice combination! Last night was a lot of fun. We had about 23 people here for dinner. I got lucky though. I had put the 3 loaves of garlic bread in the oven when they called and said they were 5 minutes away. 15 minutes later I remembered them...As everyone was already eating! No smoke though, they were actually just right. It was fun to watch them conduct their "scavenger hunt". Good thing we didn't have anything to hide!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Canceled Plans and Early Christmas

Our Christmas get-together scheduled for tonight has been canceled due to ice. Strange, it is the clearest day so far that I have seen in about a week. We have had "whiteness" everywhere, not snow, just frost. I think it's warmed up to all of about 30 degrees maybe? We even had a sitter scheduled for the 2 older children, but I am so tired, staying home sounds even better than finding something else to do! I think it comes from staying up for an hour after everyone else has gone to bed so I can read, make Christmas blankets, wrap Christmas goodies for my husbands co-workers, or just think about pointless worries and concerns that I am powerless to do anything about so late at night. A small price to pay for absolute quiet time!

A little tattling on myself/ourselves: We let our children open up packages from Grandma (Mr. SAHM's mom) yesterday. She lives in Virginia and is always excellent about sending packages and presents that everyone enjoys! Here was our reasoning....Monday we go to my family for Christmas and we didn't want to pack the extra gifts with us plus tomorrow no one has school so we knew we would get bombarded with "Can we open ONE present?". We did ourselves and our babysitter (had she been here tonight) a huge favor. Plus, WE'RE the parents, so WE make the rules, right? Which means they can be changed at any time to suit us. Of course, we opened ours too. Actually, Mr. SAHM opened his first (like 2 DAYS first). We loved everything we were given....And enjoy making Christmas a true SEASON rather than a one day occurrence. We wish all of our family lived close, but that would mean an awful lot of moving for many people, and I wouldn't wish that on anyone! Another one of our wishes is that Grandpa (Mr. SAHM's dad) was still living, and could be here to experience his latest grand-daughter with us and to talk to about all of the things that have happened this year. It's not often that a new baby, job and major move happen all in one year...Never mind one month. We do believe that he knows little Lucy and can see her from Heaven. I'm not sure doctrinally how to back that up or if I even can, but I believe that he is among the "great cloud of witnesses" watching us run our race. I also know that he is very proud of his son, as am I, and that he is a wonderful father and husband.

Now, I'd better go downstairs and tackle the 3 loads of laundry waiting to be folded and put away (UGH) as well as the ones yet to be finished, look at some dishes, and see what Simon is up to. One more reason to stay home....Don't have to clean the house up for anyone! But, it will have to be "touched up" for the progressive dinner party we're having here tomorrow night with the youth group. I'm making a main course and have yet to hear a definite number of people coming. As long as I know by mid morning, I should be fine. Spaghetti is a wonderful thing.


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Living on the Edge

I had to make a trip to the nearest "big city" today. Seems my husband needed to do some Christmas shopping for some of his staff, which I was entirely in support of. Since their break starts tomorrow and tomorrow night is the last staff Christmas dinner, today was the deadline for my practiced, bargain-hunting eye. (Not quite cheap, but very frugal!) It's about a 30 mile drive, one way, and I thought I had plenty of gas....Do you see where this is headed? Well you're wrong! I did NOT run out of gas. Good thing too, because this particular stretch of interstate is lonesome, speedy, and at the time covered with dense, freezing fog. Stupid on my part, I know.

I think it was a very good thing that before we left, I had my son pray after me for protection for the drive. (I knew it was cold and we had very sparse, dry snow here.) Our highly teched-out van has a little "Distance to Empty" gauge. Ours read "0" for 19 miles until I made it to a gas station. That's about what we get as our mpg. That was the return trip, by the way. I didn't notice our predicament until I was on the long, bare stretch of interstate. Lesson learned. And before any male readers get any bight ideas, ask my husband how we came to own 8 gasoline containers!


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Of iguanas and lizards

Last night when Mr. SAHM got home, he asked our son what he'd shared at school. (Having read my first post and knowing the story.) He was a little concerned that the teacher may think he needed anger management help from the "punching holes in the wall" story she'd heard. Keeping in mind that this was now evening, and preschool sharing happened in the morning, it is not surprising that a 4-year old had no recollection of any such stories being told by him. He did however say what the "Letter of the day" was. And I quote: "L. L says ulll..ullll..ulll.....iguana..." That's supposed to be "lizard" for anyone familiar with this phonics program. They learn a new letter, its sound, and a corresponding animal that starts with the letter and sound. Our son saw an iguana and appropriately called it such. I don't actually know if it was an iguana or other type of lizard. Evidently he apparently is not yet making the phonics connection.

This does bring an older tale to my mind, which may explain why "iguana" is more familiar to him than "lizard". (This will be an oft repeated story for any of you that know my family, and especially our oldest daughter. I apologize for the redundancy. But it is good blogging material, factual, and can be confirmed by any number of sources.) In May of 1999, we purchased our first house, from which we moved in August of this year. At the time we had one child, a 2 year old girl. The house had been occupied by owners of a full-grown pet iguana. We didn't know this, and there was no need to be told this information. What we needed to know was that the iguana had gone missing 6 weeks earlier and had not been found when we took possession of the house. Our 2 year old was upstairs for a "time out". (This was before our kids became perfectly behaved.) The upstairs was a remodeled attic that still had doors in the walls of her room accessing storage/attic space. She was behaving as a typical 2 year old in time out in her room. She was jumping on the bed in OUR room, looked up, and noticed a creature staring at her from across the very short space between our rooms. So she screamed something about there being a "monster". To which her logical parent (father....mother wasn't home yet from work) informed her that there was no such thing as monsters, reminded her she was in time out and needed to be quiet. The screaming didn't stop, and eventually father went up to deal more firmly with the issue. Discovering she was to his left (our room on our bed), instead of to his right (her room), his back was to the 3 steps that led up the remodeled attic/bedroom. She kept pointing behind him, not listening to a word he said. He finally turned around and was about 2 feet away from this lizard-like creature that had finally ventured out of the crawl space, probably hungry. A little secret here: Mr. SAHM hates snakes and there really isn't much difference between a snake and a 5 foot iguana. When I came home both were at the bottom of the stairs with the door shut. I took the poor, traumatized child (who firmly believed in monsters by now) and prepared to go call the previous home owner (who had rented the house, so we didn't know to whom this creature actually belonged or if it was just lost?). Mr. SAHM felt brave enough to go try to "catch or contain" the creature, plus our little kitten had just ran up the stairs, and the two females, in our rational brains, were afraid it would get eaten by the monster. (Ok, I was a little shook up too.) So, our rescuer opens the stair door and we immediately hear him scream and the door shut quickly. Apparently the iguana tried to follow us downstairs. At that time, I beat a hasty retreat with my child to my parents' house with "Call me when it's gone." It finally was captured, and we dealt with bedtime issues (understandably) for MONTHS that didn't resolve until we took her to the iguana's grave. The thing apparently was unable to recover from such a long fast and died. (We had told her it was dead long before that, but when it truly did die, she was able to see the burial site.) Seriously, it was about 6 months, but we managed to avoid therapy!

Still, it did give her some good "ammo" to use to try to scare her little brother with, very effectively I might add. We put latches, locks, etc. on the attic crawl space doors, rearranged furniture, and dreaded any wind or drafts that caused rattling upstairs the entire time we lived there. Thankfully, our new house, which we've been in since August, hasn't kept any left over pets. Pugs, as I understand, were the pets of choice for the previous owners. At least they are warm-blooded mammals.


Monday, December 12, 2005

A new venture

Well, here goes a brand new, somewhat frightening, endeavor on my part. Will I spell correctly and have proper grammar? Will I attract some freak psycho? Will I embarass myself? Will anyone even care? (About the grammar and spelling.) A secret to some of you....Mr. SAHM, although he is an educator with an advanced degree, is a mediocre speller at best.

Today I picked up Simon a little late from preschool, which is actually not my norm! His teacher said "So it sounds like you had a rough morning! Today was Simon's day for sharing." Hooooo boy....what did he say? Apparently, he told of his dad's truck breaking down, of us going to pick up him and his big sister at 6:45 in the morning to take them to school. Correct story, but it happened last week. Also, he shared that "My dad punched a hole in our wall!". Also, a SOMEWHAT correct story, but the hole was carefully created a week ago Sunday to repair a ruptured water pipe. Not bad, considering another boy shared a story of his mom in her underwear! Glad THAT wasn't me.