Monday, July 28, 2008

Change of Command

Last Wednesday Daddy gave over command of Charlie Co., 1-508. After 2 years at this job, it was a little bittersweet to have all we've done here come to an end. We were blessed to have family come and share the day. All our parents, plus my niece, and some friends from church were in attendance.

We onlookers were thankful for some shade in the sweltering heat, even with the fire ants nibbling our fashionably exposed toes.

Daddy made us proud with his brief, yet meaningful speech.

This day was our last major event here at Bragg. We're excited about what's next for us, but I'll have to save that for another day. Nap time will soon end!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Back to Real Life

Nothing lasts forever, and vacations seem to always end sooner than we'd like. Daddy went back to work last Monday and is working long days in preparation for his change of command next week. Anna and I have had a week at home trying to find fun things to do.

We had Eli over a couple days. What a sweet boy!

She had an unfortunate collision with the car door after church last Sunday.

One afternoon we went through some boxes in her closet to take stock of what hand-me-downs we have to grow into. She chose to try these on and we pretended she was Jemima Puddle-Duck "wearing her shawl and poke bonnet."

Then she tumbled out of her laundry basket.

What is everyone else doing on these long, hot summer days?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Bye, Bye Kitty

Yesterday we said goodbye to our dear Mr. E. The new house we're renting in No. VA doesn't allow pets, so we put an ad on Kijiji not really thinking anyone would want a middle-aged cat. However, in less than a week, a family on-post contacted us and came to pick him up yesterday evening. We felt like we were really up-front about the shed fest that is "The E," the hairballs, the scratching, but they still loved him. Not that we were trying to talk them out of it, just wanted to give them fair warning for what they were about to take on.

I was a little sad, mostly relieved. He's been a good friend, but it has been difficult to give him the love he needs with a little girl around. I'm pretty tired of all the quirks mentioned above, and I'll sleep much better at night without a 16-pound cat jumping on me. Poor Anna, though, she loved that kitty. No matter how many bites or scratches she received (many deserved) from him, she still cried as he left yesterday, saying "I want my kitty friend!" That made me cry. But, I think she's over it already! Kids are so tough. Today she proudly told Papa on the phone, "Misser E went to new friends house!" I'm not sure if she thinks she gets to see him again.

John is probably the happiest of us all, but he's too nice to admit it.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

The Rest of Quel Voyage

We're back from our fun weekend in VA. I'll share more on that in another post. First I want to tell more about the home of poi, the hula, Jack Johnson, and Mai Tais. I'll not go on and on about each place. You can read about them in professionally-written travel books. So, here's a little more of what we did each day.

Thursday, June 19 We traveled up to the Air Force's playground at Bellows. What a beach! Beautiful, warm water. Great sand and great views. Anna took a couple of face dives in the sand here, but was a good sport about it. On our way back we stopped to check out Waikiki and have lunch with a beach front view at Duke's. Yummy! It was that day I began to wonder why my SPF 55 wasn't keeping me from getting burnt. Here's a pic from beautiful Bellows.

Friday, June 20 What with my sunblock mishap from the day before, we decided to take a break from beaching. Jim went out that morning and got us delicious banana and chocolate chip pancakes! What a treat! Once packed up, we headed to Waimea Valley park, which Kristen blogged some about, including that unfortunate incident with Anna and the peacock. It was such a nice, leisurely stroll on the paved trail to the falls. We got to meet several new plants and flowers.

After that we were off to Motsumoto's Shave Ice I'd heard so much about. We weren't disappointed.

We ended the day in a celebration of Kathleen's 1/2 birthday at the bowling alley. Anna's first time bowling was exciting, especially once she realized she couldn't bowl every turn. I'm not sure we have a future pro bowler, but I think we may be friends with one.

Saturday, June 21 Back for more of Waikiki - the famed glitzy metropolis on a pristine paradise beach. Specifically, we chose to plop down at Ft. DeRussy Beach, owned by the Hale Koa Armed Forces resort. The girls got into more sand and water and we took turns trying out a sea kayak. We completed the outing with lunch on the Hale Koa patio.

Sunday, June 22 We had really looked forward to going to church with the Golbys. Anna was happy to go to the nursery with Kathleen, which was a relief. It was neat to see where they get to worship and to experience a bit of the community there. John also got to see one of his pals from West Point. After church, we headed over to Jamba Juice for lunch. I had always wanted to try it. Yummy! I've been deprived. I hope there's one where we live next. We had a relaxing afternoon giving the girls some time to rest up from the tumult of fun we'd put them through. When Anna got up our family took a trip to the Navy Exchange in Pearl City. That may sound a bit trivial, but that place is worth a mention. We bought a few gifts for family, were tempted to buy more, but were mostly overwhelmed and didn't even know where to begin. We ended the day dining at the Golbys on another delicious dish Kristen had cooked up - beans and rice. I've had many requests for it since we've been home.

Monday, June 23 We felt really blessed to be able to spend our anniversary (7 years) in Hawaii! This was one of our favorite days. We spent the morning at awesome Hanauma Bay, I got good and burnt again (with SPF 55. why??), we had some local fare for lunch at Zippy's, and enjoyed a treat at Bubby's ice cream before going home for a nap. A very special day...though I could've done without the sunburn.

Tuesday, June 24 A banner day as I discovered why in the world I kept getting burnt through SPF 55. All I can figure out is that sunscreen that says "Faces" on the bottle really means just faces. I doesn't make sense. But watch out! My face never got burnt, but I'm still peeling from the parts that did. Is there an NP who works in a dermatology clinic out there who can explain this to me? Thankfully, John went out that morning to get some sunblock for the rest of the epidermis. Ahh! That was a relief as we took a little family trip out to Waimea Bay for the morning. We got showered on a little, but it was still a nice way to spend a morning. We brought Anna back for lunch and prepared for an exciting afternoon! The Golbys generously offered to keep Anna for the afternoon and evening so we could go out and celebrate our anniversary. It was an unforgettable hike up to Manoa Falls through a real-deal rain forest. I'd always wanted to take a hike like that.

We busted down the trail quickly, wiped the mud off our legs, changed some clothes and shoes and made it back in time for our luau at Ko O'lina's Paradise Cove. We watched a lovely sunset just before getting in line to dine on some Kalua Pork. The entertainment was fun and it was just so nice to be out and not have to rush home for bed or worry about whether Anna would eat anything off the buffet. We hear she had a great time in the pool and showed Kathleen how to eat some serious noodles.

Wednesday, June 25 This was the day we took a trip to the windward side where Kristen mentioned the girls made friends with a tour group from Japan. Funny memory! That was probably the strongest wind I've ever experienced, but what a view!

Thursday, June 26 How to spend your last full day in paradise? Maybe our ambitious sight-seeing caught up with us, or more likely, we were sad we'd have to be leaving our friends soon. We made the most of a quiet morning at home, went to pick up some travel necessities at the Commissary and PX and took in Waimea Bay in the afternoon. John got to snorkel one last time and the girls enjoyed the sand and water as much as any other day. We had one last delectable dinner at Hale'iwa Joe's where we could watch the sunset and Jim indulged the older girls in going to look at some boats at a nearby dock.

Friday, June 27 A great breakfast at Rosie's back in adorable Hale'iwa, followed by kite-flying and turtle-spying at Dillingham were a memorable (and dry) way to sum up a great trip.

In case you haven't noticed from what has turned into an extensive blog post, Hawaii is a land of enchanting superlatives. We enjoyed taking in more of God's awesome creation and are so thankful for the generosity of our friends. We know we and the girls would've had just as much fun anywhere else, but if you have friends in Hawaii, why not take advantage of both?

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Quel Voyage, Part II

Monday, June 16 we departed Austin, TX in the early hours of the morning. Kevin,we flew commercial airlines; I prefer to fly Space-A only when I'm pregnant. (That's a joke from way back) A few hours' flight took us to LA, Calif. where we spent the day hanging out in Santa Monica and Venice Beach. Pretty neat, but there was a weird smell in the air. Good shopping, and yummy Thai food, though. Didn't get any photos. We got a hotel room for the afternoon near the airport so Anna could get a little rest before the long flight that loomed ahead that evening. When it came time for the flight, we boarded with books, stickers, snacks and other little amusements a-plenty. Anna was great! It took her a while to settle in, but with a little bit of Bear in the Big Blue House and listening to her all-time favorite, The Tail of Peter Rabbit, she eventually calmed down and nodded off and slept till we arrived in Honolulu around 11 pm local time. We were thankful, though stiff and numb from having a tot sprawled across our laps for several hours. We wouldn't have traded it, though.

Tuesday, June 17 The jet lag kicked in around 4:30 or 5 am, if I remember correctly. John is such a wonderful Daddy. He got up with her and kept her quiet till a decent hour. It was a relaxing day at Ko'Olina's man-made lagoons, back for lunch and naps, and then some time at the playground near the Golby's house. At this point in our trip, we thought we had left our camera in TX, which was silly since we hardly removed it from our bags.

Wednesday, June 18 Camera recovered in my back pack. Oops. Good thing, because our trip to Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial deserved a camera. What a neat place. Though it was a struggle to fight back scenes of that nauseatingly cheezy movie of the same name, it was a half-day well spent. Anna was bored in parts, but the boat ride out to the Memorial (actually built over the sunken USS Arizona...amazing!) kept her interest. We followed that with a drive over to Ford Island so I could be filled with jealousy over the lovely Navy housing there. Here's a photo of that day. If you ever go, and go you should, get there EARLY. And, no bags of any kind are allowed...even with small children. That was annoying and problematic, but we survived.

The afternoon found us at Waimea bay looking for beached sea turtles and then a tasty Thai dinner in Haleiwa. By this time, I'm infatuated with Hawaii.

Well, I have 9 more days in Paradise to talk about, but so little time. We are packing for a trip to VA for the 4th of July and to meet our niece and Anna's new baby cousin, Jeana Sherri. Anna just came up and told me it's my turn to eat breakfast. So, more when we return...

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Quel Voyage!

We're back and mostly un-jet-lagged! And before I start off with a review of our globe-trotting (seriously...I never realized Hawaii was half-way across the Pacific!), may I share a funny story?

I believe I have mentioned before that we have our house up for rent. Today a lady came by to see it. Anna was proud to show her kitty, her toys, the bathroom, the vacuum in the closet, then we came in the kitchen. We were chatting about the backyard and so forth. I was really hoping the potential tenant would not notice the trail of ants we've had since coming back home. Anna, being the honest little girl she is, shouted out, "We have ants! See?" Ahh...perfect. Thankfully, the lady was very gracious, and, having lived in the area for a while, knows that the Carolina Sandhills are really the biggest ant farm in the world. They really are very manageable.

So, back to vacation. Wow. We had a blast. Our few days in Texas with Uncle Michael and "Aunt Faif" were such fun. Anna had a blast with their pups, Abby and Riley. Unfortunately, but not unlike us, we were having too much fun to bust out the camera until we went to San Antonio.

What a fun little town that is! The Alamo, the Riverwalk, Sea World, your hotel hooked to a mall...fantastic! We did a little tour of the Alamo, then headed down to the Riverwalk for a very tasty dinner of fajitas. Anna loved watching the ducks and boats as we ate. Here's a shot of us girls down by the water. We ended our evening with a swim at the hotel pool.

The next day we saw some more of San Antonio, specifically El Mercado and Sea World. Anna was really mesmerized by all she saw at Sea World. The aquarium, feeding the alligators, and an amazing show we aptly called a "water circus" kept us too distracted to take photos. But if you're ever in San Antonio with kiddos, go to Sea World. The show was really something! We did get this shot of the 3 of us girls while there. Sorry there aren't more.

After Sea World, we had another yummy Mexican lunch and then headed back to Austin where we bid farewell to our favorite Aunt and Uncle in Texas and bedded down in our hotel in preparation for our long trip the next day. Check back for Quel Voyage, Part II, or go to the Golby's site for some photos and memories of our trip.