Wednesday, May 30, 2012


What is it that 'they' say? When one door closes, another opens? I think that's a pretty good statement when talking about Military families, especially when it's time to pull up those roots you've planted and nurtured and transplant them to another location, only to do the same thing again one, two or if you're lucky like us, four years later.

Which is what we're in the middle of doing right now.


I have a lot of blogging to catch up on. This last year for us has FLOWN by. Isn't that usually the case when it's your last year living somewhere and you want to do as much as possible so as not to miss out on anything? But I've decided to start with the here and now and then work my way backwards.

So let me start catching you all up on us Hammies....

Right now, we're basically Nomads. No permanent address for a little bit. Our house in Lejeune was packed up and put into storage in Woodbridge, VA starting about 2 weeks ago. 

 The moving truck getting ready to load up our house...

Our empty home, after we primed the walls and started erasing any proof we even lived there...

Everything looks so empty and bittersweet...

I was actually doing pretty good with the move until the kids last day of school. With the DODEA schools here on base, we were able to do an 'Accelerated Withdraw' for the kids. Meaning they were able to finish up their school year, take their exams early (in Cassie's case) and it would all count as a full school year completed. For the boys, I bought cupcakes and took them into their classes. Let me just say that there is nothing worse than having to watch your kids say goodbye to their friends. I know that as an adult, I can handle it. It sucks, but I can do it. But for those kids, it really just breaks my heart.
 Jason with some of his best friends...

Jack's teacher Ms. Wyschka giving him a going away bag, which contained a blue teddy bear that she told him that whenever he was feeling sad and missing his friends, to hug him and know that they all missed him too. Jack hasn't let go of that bear since.

 His best friend Colton...

 For Jack, I think it's been especially hard. When I went in to his class, the teacher told me that his friend Colton had already been getting teary-eyed about it and then as Jack and I headed out, we had to stop in the hallway because Jack needed a 'moment'.  Between the two of us, we were a bunch of  crying fools.

Cassie and Jason both got school awards. Jason ended the year with 'All A Honor Roll' and "Perfect Attendance' for the whole year and Cassie was awarded 'Student of the Year for Culinary Arts'.  I couldn't be more proud of the two of them!!!!

If you weren't aware, Jon was accepted to USUHS (Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences) in Bethesda, MD, where he'll get his Master's Degree as a CRNA (Nurse Anesthetist). I am so proud of him but it's going to be seriously hectic and crazy for us all for the next two and a half years. He will be in school for one year there and then starts his residency program (that is a 18mo program) a year from now. We'll most likely only be in the DC area for a year and then we'll move once more to wherever they decide to send him for residency.  We're still waiting to hear where that'll be. Jon has asked to be sent to Jacksonville, FL as his first choice, Bethesda as his second, Portsmouth, VA as his third and then finally San Diego as his last choice. So as soon as we know where we're going, we'll let you all know as well.

He actually started school on May 19th. Two days after we left Lejeune. It's been a crazy couple of weeks for us. So while he headed up to Bethesda, the kids, dog and I headed to my friend Erin's house in Fayetteville, NC to spend a few days. We then packed up and headed to the DC area (specifically Quantico, VA) to spend a couple days with another friend of mine - Jb. The school was having a family day picnic, kind of a introduction to fellow families and classmates and Jon wanted us to be there. How could I say no? So while we were there, the kids and I made the crazy drive through DC traffic to see Jon, attend the picnic and visit where he is going to school at.

Luckily, while Jon is attending school he'll be able to stay at our new house that we're renting from some great friends in Damascus, MD. At the moment, they're still living there. The husband, Matt is in the same program Jon is in, but he's a year ahead. They are moving to start his residency in VA in June.  In the meantime, the kids, dog and I get to visit friends and family while we wait for our new home to be ready to move into.

I drove from Damascus to Mom and Dad's in Michigan this last Saturday (May 26th) where we will be staying put, relaxing and just being glad to be 'home' until the middle of June when we'll head back to the DC area to move into our awesome new home.

Leaving Lejeune was seriously hard. I've made some of the best friends I've ever had there. I was BLESSED that my sister and her family were able to get stationed there as well and I got to watch my nephews grow up and be a part of their lives for a three years. Which is almost unheard of when you have siblings in two different branches of the Military. I also got to become a part of an amazing Marine Corp community (in which I'm afraid NOTHING will ever compare to) where I got to go to parties, lunches, balls and embrace my love of cooking. I mean, really! How LUCKY was I to get to be a part of all that? I watched as our corp group of friends started leaving one by one and knew that one day, it'd be my turn to pop that 'bubble' and say 'See ya later Lejeune'. You really learn to cherish your friendships when you know that you're running on limited time. But still, when you have to leave your family, the one you grew up with and the ones that became your family all in the same day, it hurts just a bit.

So with that being said...if you're reading this, I am INVITING you to come and visit us in DC. We'll have a guest room and a beautiful deck for sitting out, drinking cocktails and watching kids play. Not to mention the billions of things we'll be able to go do and see while we're there. It's only going to be a year but we intend to make the most of it!

Here's to being grateful to the best 4 years of my life and hoping for some wonderful adventures to come!


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Friday, November 11, 2011

Shootin' some Zombies

We had a chance to head up to my good friends, Erin's for the weekend, so of course we took it! It had been a while since we've all been together and besides Erin and I missing each other like crazy, our kids were driving US crazy with constantly asking when they were going to see each other again.

Luckily Erin isn't too far away and only after a 2 hour drive and we made it in plenty of time to enjoy a fun Friday night of Shootin'!
Perry and Erin have been spending some lovely date nights shooting the crap out of some poor targets, so we couldn't wait to jump in on some of that action.

Ok, Jon couldn't wait. I was a little nervous. It has been a few years since I've fired off a few rounds.

But my excitement tripled when I saw the targets we'd be shooting - ZOMBIES!!

If you know us, we have an (unnatural) obsession with zombies. I really don't know when or where it started but hey, at least it's not drugs.

Jon getting ready to blow some caps in that zombie, er...brain.

 Ready? Aim! FIRE!

Look at 'em...giggling like a bunch of school girls! Geesh!

Perry showing us silly girls how it's done!

Me rocking it out in my protective eye wear! HAWT! ;)

Taking aim and praying I don't actually shoot myself. I look much cooler in this picture than I actually felt. Ugh!

Erin showing us how real women do it!

I just love the targets and Jon's face, lol!

Jon did some damage to that zombie. I at least hope that it's actually dead-dead now and not the walking dead. Ewwww....

We ended up have a fabulous weekend. AS USUAL! We got some quality time in, drank some wine, ate some delicious food, went to the movies and let the kids run wild! We couldn't wait to do it again in a few weeks during our annual Hammie-Smith Epic Thanksgiving Weekend! 

Stay tuned!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween 2011

Halloween came fast for us this year. We've been so busy that before we could say 'Trick or Treat', it was Halloween weekend.
Our fun weekend started off on Friday, where the boys school held their annual 'Trunk or Treat'. Sadly, because of the new school and there not being as many people, there wasn't that many 'trunks'. But the kids still had a fantastic time seeing all the great costumes and the awesome trunks that were decorated.

My friend Jenny and Karen participated again this year. This time it was as a Mad Scientist and Egor. I have to say, they did a FANTASTIC job! As you can see by this picture, everyone was lined up to get a look at their trunk!

These girls cracked me up!

Aren't their costumes AWESOME?!!!!

Although Karen was freaking me out just a little bit....

....but then again, Jenny was too!

Right next to them was this trunk!

They had all sorts of scary music playing and they DARED the kids to go inside to see what could possibly be in there...

It took some convincing but Jack finally found his courage and went inside....

Jason followed....

Obviously it wasn't too tortuous, seeing as he came out smiling! They had to knock on the window in the back and then they got more candy.
Here's just another example of a trunk all deck out....
There was prizes given out that evening for the best decorated trunk and then the 2nd and 3rd place winners. Was it any surprise that Jenny and Karen took home the Grand Prize?! They have some mad skills because this was the 3rd year in a row that they won! Way to go girls!!!!

That next day was Soccer Saturday. They boys have been busy going to practices pretty much every day of the week with games on Saturday. Today was no different. So we were up and at 'em first thing in the morning. After the games, we headed up to Swansboro to let the boys pick out pumpkins. We kinda waited until the last minute to get our pumpkins, so it was slim pickin's in town. But I remembered that we got awesome pumpkins last year at the church in Swansboro, so we headed up there and picked out 3 huge pumpkins to carve the next day.

Sunday night finally rolls around and it's time to carve some pumpkins! Cassie had a couple of girlfriends over to stay the night, but since she had to have a pumpkin this year, I made sure she was the one craving it!  This year we took it easy with the carving. I have just gotten tired of spending hours carving out those designs you can buy for them. So we went Old School and let the boys draw faces on their pumpkins and go to town!

I mostly had to help Jack still. He was very excited about carving it, but he wanted NOTHING to do with pulling out the guts inside.

Jason went at his pumpkin like an old pro! He knew exactly what he wanted and only needed our help with the tricky stuff. It's so nice that we're getting to the point where the kids don't need us to carve their pumpkins for them anymore!

Getting ready to pop the top off Jack's pumpkin....

We took a lot of pics of all of us getting down to business...

Jason starting to cut out the eye of his pumpkin...

This was Jack's face when we told him that he needed to reach his hand inside his pumpkin and pull out the guts...

"You want me to put my hand WHERE???"

The smell was grossing him out apparently...

So I dug in a little deeper and got most of the gunk out...

And finally we got Jack to stick his arm in there.

A few more pictures of us working on the pumpkins...

At this point it was time to get Cassie involved...

I just love this girl!

We finally finished up our pumpkins and I started the process of removing all the seeds from the gunk so we could have some roasted pumpkin seeds.

The next day - HALLOWEEN, Cassie and Alyssa decided they needed to make a last ditch effort and get some sort of costume. They wanted to get one more year in of Trick-or-Treating.

Here my girls are, ready to head out. No surprise Alyssa is the devil. I'm just say'n....

But as the time came to get ready to go, the girls came to their senses and realized not only would they be embarressed to go trick or treating, but that they were also too old for it now. So they hung out at the house and handed out candy before a friend came by and took them to the Haunted House here on base.

It was time for the boys to head out! Jason of course was an Angry Bird and Jack went at Skeleton Jack Sparrow! The great thing about Jason's costume is that it's so full of stuffing that after tonight we're turning it into a huge pillow!


After a lot of complaining (from Jack) and then the drizzling rain, we decided to call it a night and come home. But we realized that we hadn't gotten pictures of the pumpkins this year. Sadly Cassie's pumpkin had a pumpkin accident when her design didn't work out too well for her and then it really went to the birds after Jack accidentally stepped on it as he was walking out the door. Whoops! But being the good girl she is, she wasn't too upset about it.

Jack's pumpkin...

A pic of Jason's pumpkin all lit up!

And finally Jack's.

I want to take a moment in this blog to thank my friend Jenny (Yup, Egor from earlier) who helped me sew Jason's angry bird costume. She came over one Sunday and after a few mishaps, we were finally able to figure out the best way to go about it! She is my sewing goddess and I can't thank her enough for all the help she gave me. Almost made me want to head out and buy myself a sewing machine.


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