Wednesday, July 22, 2009


After eight days away, we headed home to Georgia just a few short hours ago. Okay, more than twenty-four hours now but it feels like a short time. I’m old and tired----and will gladly admit it!!

Hey, any excuse for a nap, right?

I promised the kids they could help drive home. The drive north was hard since I was the only one driving. I have control issues so wouldn’t relinquish the steering wheel. I know, some of you are very shocked now.

Anyhow……we left Williamsburg headed for parts south. Now, I have not driven to or from Virginia in a long time. We keep trading in frequent flier miles instead. Much smarter move than driving which I soon realized when I discovered I had forgotten the way home.


I knew how to GET home but evidently missed the short cut to I-95 which would save me twenty minutes or more.

When I realized I was seeing sights not yet seen before, I handed the map to the kids and told them to check it out. Guess what? Neither could tell me where we were or if I was on the right road.

Again, wonderful.

Guess it’s time for a lesson in map reading.

After pulling off the road a few times to check the map myself and saying, NO it’s not time for lunch (at 9 am), NO we aren’t there yet, we were on the correct route. We were also able to enjoy a lovely tour of downtown Richmond so all was not lost.

Once we were on I-85 in southern Virginia, I let Alex drive. When Katie heard this, she yelled out….buckle up, we’re all gonna die!

Thanks for the reassurance, kid!

I had him double check the mirrors, brakes, etc. Once he was sure he was ready, he eased out into the non-existent traffic……thus the reason he was driving at this point. Within ten seconds he said, oh man, the parking brake is still on.

Mind you, we are going at least 50+ miles per hour while getting up to speed.

Way to make me feel confident.

For most of the trip, I saw this……

I will grudgingly admit that having the kids help drive home made my day easier. Even though I am a really bad passenger. Really bad. But I got to see interesting things.

And, we had our funnies too. Abby tied her feet together with a necklace and had to have it cut off. Yep, for real. We stopped at Wendy’s to get “Frozie’s”. A made up treat thanks to Katie---but now our punch line for snacks. (Poor daddy won’t get it). The huge shopping cart for……? Not sure on that one. Alex snoring in the back seat. Loud enough for us all to hear. Guess he had a rough week, huh? Anna Grace and her “are we there yet” routine. Perhaps not funny but……

Best of all…..we got to watch Alice and Wonderman on the way home.

We’re just cool like that.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Five Years Ago....

I am posting this a day late.....bad mommy. But, hey, our lives have been pretty full the past week or so!!

But on July 18, 2004, our lives changed forever...

Five years ago,
our little girl arrived,
handed over to strangers
and immediately cried.

So sad and confused
by the new place to be.
Who are these people
who keep talking to me?

But as the time passed,
she blossomed and grew
bringing smiles and laughter
to all that she knew.

Toss in lots of spunk,
mixed with laughter and giggles,
along with much naughtiness
and many, many wiggles.

Add dimples and cuteness
to that small little face
and a mouth always moving….
and that’s Anna Grace.

She is a delight
From her head to her feet
life with our baby
is always a treat.

Five years have gone by
too fast and too slow.
It was amazing to watch
our little Mei Zhen grow.

Our hearts have been touched
and lives filled with glee
all from this baby
who came ‘cross the sea.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

On the road again.....

Monday morning dawned bright and early. Daddy headed to China via a stop at the office. We took off for a mom and kid adventure to Emerald Isle, North Carolina to see my sister and her boys. It is truly a mom and kid week as my brother-in-law is currently deployed to Iraq…..

Let me tell you….all plans are great, in theory! But after nine hours in the car with all four children, it’s a miracle I arrived safe and sound at my sister’s house with everyone intact. It was touch and go there for a while. Whew. Let’s just say that some kids were much less patient than others.

Are we there yet? Are we there yet? How many more minutes? Can I watch a movie? I’m hungry? Can we have lunch? Oh, we already had lunch? Can I have a snack? Are we there yet?

Whew. I just have to say that again as I remember the drive. And, I have to do it all again to go home. Ugh!

Tuesday morning we loaded up the truck and golf cart (Abby calls it the go-cart), and headed for the beach. My sister is so unlucky and lives only two blocks from the beach. Such a life, huh?

But picture this: the pick up truck loaded with a blow-up boat, many boogie boards, two surf boards, coolers, chairs, and the kitchen sink…..add to that a golf cart loaded with people and inner tubes and pulling a beach cart…..that would be us heading to the beach. The Beverly Hillbillies hit North Carolina. Seriously. It makes me laugh!

Ah, the beach. What could be better?

Abby is not overly fond of the ocean. She loves to splash in the waves but is not wild about going anywhere above her knees. She is very content to dig to her hearts content in the sand. But today, I did get her in the inner tube with me for about ten minutes riding the waves. Way to go Abby!

Anna Grace loves every aspect of the beach. She wants to dig in the sand, play in the water, and is pretty much a beach bum. She thrives being in the tube with Katie or even trying to boogie board. Aunt Karen took her out in the water today which was lots of fun! Although the pool is just a few steps away (okay, I’m exaggerating), she would rather play in the surf. She had so much sand IN her suit today that I had to cut a hole in the liner to get it all out. The girl loves the ocean.

Alex, the deep thinker, the “I don’t want to”, kind of kid is really having a good time. Evidently he’s not too cool to hang with his cousins or sisters. Whew. He is loving having the boat to flip, boogie boards to ride the waves, and tons of food to eat. Who wouldn’t love that? Today just wiped him out. He was trying to keep his “normal” hours at home so was up too late and, gee, mom woke him up early. Toss in all day in the sun and surf, he was gone.

Katie is our true beach bum. This is her third trip to a beach this summer. Must be nice to live the life of luxury, huh? But she has really enjoyed hanging with her cousins and brother, and playing with her sisters. She has ridden the boat, gone tubing with old mom, and taken Anna Grace boogie boarding.

But the best thing? Oh my. While boogie boarding yesterday, Katie rode a wave all the way to shore but then started yelling for me. What’s up? Evidently, she lost her bikini bottoms on the ride. Lost. Completely. Washed out to sea. Gone. My nephew ran and got a towel for her so she could leave the ocean. Now, can you imagine the look on someone’s face when those bottoms eventually wash up on shore? Makes me giggle!

And don't you think she looks like my sister???

Lunch has been spent around the cooler with crackers, cheese, meats, and fruit. Caveman much better can it get? Except maybe to not bring so much stuff with gets eaten but, golly gee, it's hard to pull the coolers!!

We have a few more days here before heading to Williamsburg to see my parents. I’ll try to break away from the waves to update you….but don’t count on it! Unless I get more sunburned than I did today. Then I’ll be homebound…..

But now I have SPF 50. I should be good……..

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

And Twenty Years Later....

Picture it. A small town in the mountains of Pennsylvania. Early fall, leaves are glorious colors. Two college students dressed in camouflage. Eyes locked over the barrel of a machine gun. True love abounds.

Ha! That would be the story Dave tells about how we met almost twenty-four years ago at Lock Haven University. In actuality, we met via friends within three weeks of the start of my freshman year…Dave’s junior year.

You see, I got the brilliant idea to sign up for Army ROTC for a semester…mostly to aggravate my dad who was career Navy. Yes, I was one of "those" teens we all love to hear about. Yep.

I know, payback is great. I already dread it.

Continuing on… signing up for ROTC, I met lots of great people who in turn, introduced us. You see, Dave was already in the ROTC program when I, on a whim, decided to enroll.

Now, Dave did show me how to shoot a machine gun, how to assemble and disassemble a rifle, complete basic Army tasks, and all that fun stuff. But that's not where our eyes first locked, contrary to what he might say.

Betcha didn’t know that, did you?

Here we are now, five towns, four kids, three houses, and two states later celebrating twenty years of marriage. Wow. Twenty years.


Oh my. How young we looked.

July 8, 1989……wedding at St. Joseph Catholic Church….reception at the Carlisle Country Club….. the day it all started. Twenty-four hours later, we loaded the U-Haul truck and headed to our new life together in Vidalia, Georgia.

And never looked back.

Happy Anniversary to my best friend, the person I could not live without, and the best father I can imagine for my four babies.

I love you.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Twelve Dollars of Fun

Ah, Monday. A fresh start of a new week. Thought we’d do our usual morning routine and head to the pool. After all, this is what we usually do.

But alas, the weather would not cooperate. No rain, but cloudy and overcast. Not ideal pool weather.

What to do instead? Library? No, just mom. Backyard? No, just girls. Shopping? No, not anyone!

What can we do together? And then it hit me. I have passes for free games of bowling for the girls. All I have to do is pay for shoes. Never mind the fact that the shoe rental is actually higher than the price of bowling. What’s up with that?

I round up clean socks for everyone and load us into the car. For the five minute drive to the bowling alley, I am assaulted with questions….

Why do we need socks?

Why can’t we wear sandals?

We have to knock down the paddles, right? No, the bats.

Do we get to keep the shoes?

Are you going to play bowling too?

We’ve done this before, right mom?

What color ball will I have?

What do the shoes look like?

You said bowling costs lots of money. Is it not much money today?

You’d think they had never been before!

We don our lovely yellow and orange shoes, corral our balls, and head off to lane seven. Watching them bowl was hysterical. They would either push the ball with all their might or sling it and hope for the best. Whew.

Twenty balls later for our ten frames, we were done. Actually, I got twenty-one balls due to my spare in frame ten but who’s bragging?

Shoes returned, march back to the car, talking about the next time we could come “play bowling.”

Pretty good for $12, huh?